50 suspected migrants, including five children, picked up off Kent coast

Search and rescue operations have been launched along the Kent coast amid a wave of migrant crossings on the English Channel.

Border Force vessels are at the scene in response to ‘a number of incidents’ around Dover this morning, a Maritime and Coastguard Agency spokeswoman said.

Some 53 migrants were intercepted and brought to shore at Kingsdown beach after arriving at the south coast in dinghies.

Five children were among the groups being aided by emergency services, including a baby.

The coastguard spokeswoman said that crews are concerned with ‘rescuing those in trouble and bringing them safely back to shore’.

They will then be handed over to the relevant partner emergency services or authorities.

A Home Office spokesman added: ‘Border Force is currently dealing with a number of ongoing small boat incidents. Further details will be provided when the operational response has concluded and the situations have been resolved.’

Kent Police and the South East Ambulance Service have also been assisting with the operation.

Two of the suspected migrants are believed to have been taken to hospital as medical emergencies, Sky News reports.

More than 970 people, including at least 80 children, have crossed the Channel in small boats this year. Some 200 have made the journey this month alone.

On Friday, Home Secretary Priti Patel said that urgent action was needed to tackle the migrant crisis in the Channel, adding that plans are being drawn up ‘immediately’ to deal with the problem.

Her comments came following a meeting with French interior minister Christophe Castaner in Paris on Thursday, where the pair agreed to step up resources to intercept and stop the wave of crossings in small boats.

Recent tragedies include an Iraqi migrant who drowned trying to swim to England wearing an improvised buoyancy aid made of plastic bottles.

The unnamed man’s body was found on August 18 at a wind farm off the coast of Zeebrugge in Belgium.

Last week an Iranian woman was feared to be the first to die as she made the journey from Calais to the Kent coast on a migrant boat.

Twenty people were on the boat when it got into trouble during bad weather and only 19 were rescued.

Boris Johnson has taken a hard-line stance on the matter and warned illegal migrants they would be sent back if they risked crossing the Channel.

He said: ‘If you come illegally, you are an illegal immigrant and I’m afraid the law will treat you as such.’

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