Plymouth fishermen who pulled 31 migrants from Channel heard screams and people begging for help

  • Watch Jacquie Bird's report from ITV News speaking to a fisherman who saved the lives of 31 migrants after a boat got into difficulties crossing the English Channel on a freezing night.

A fisherman from the Arcturus crew who alerted his crew and helped save more than 30 migrants has told ITV News he heard people screaming and begging for help.

The fishermen pulled 31 people alive from the freezing waters of the English Channel after a migrant boat capsized.

Four people died and 43 others were rescued during the mission, which also involved the Royal Navy, French navy, Coastguard and RNLI lifeboats.

The crew returned back home to Plymouth with nothing but the clothes they were wearing after they gave everything - including their duvets - to the migrants they saved.

Today (20 December) they were given new clothes and bedding by the Fishermen's Mission, a charity set up to help those working out at sea.

Upon their return back home, Naveen, one of the six-man crew of the Arcturus told ITV News how he'd alerted the crew on the night and said: "I was working like usual and then I heard people screaming.

"I thought maybe it was my crew screaming at me but I went outside and saw people on a dingy screaming. I called the skipper and we started rescuing the people

Naveen helped one of the first migrants onto the Arcturus and says he was from the same place in India as him.

He added: "The first person was hanging on our landing wire and when we rescued him he said 'I'm Indian, thank you for saving my life.'

"The first person I rescued was Indian, the place where I am from. I cannot explain in words what it meant - he said to me thank you for saving my life."

The multinational crew is made up of a Scottish man, two Ghanian's and two men from India.

They regularly carry out safety drills to make sure they can rescue each other if they go overboard.

But last week their skills were put to a knife's edge during the dramatic rescue.

Charles Blyth, safety officer for Oceanic Drifter Fishing that owns the Arcturus, said: " How they managed to simultaneously rescue thirty-one people almost immediately - I'm speechless."

The crew and the boat will head out to sea once more in January.

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