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Six Iranian migrants rescued in English Channel

Six Iranian migrants have been rescued from a sinking boat as they attempted to cross the English Channel.

French authorities received a distress call from the small fishing vessel, which was travelling from Calais to Dover, just after midnight on Tuesday.

Search operations were hampered by "thick fog" but the group was eventually located at 2.45am around one mile (1.6km) north-east of Calais, French maritime authority Cross said.

The UK's Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) said it had been assisting French authorities with the search operation.

The six migrants, who were suffering from mild hypothermia, received first aid before being handed over to Calais border police, Cross said.

A permanent telephone link was kept with the group throughout the search operation.

A spokeswoman for the MCA said: " The UK Coastguard has been working with the French Coastguard overnight following a call from a small fishing vessel reporting that it had six people on board and that it was sinking.

"The vessel was en route from Calais to Dover. The UK Coastguard broadcast requests for all shipping to look for the small vessel and the Dover RNLI lifeboat was launched.

"A French patrol vessel located and rescued the six people in the early hours of this morning.

"They are being taken back to Calais harbour where they will be met by French police."

Cross warned that such journeys are "extremely risky and dangerous", with strong currents, winds and heavy traffic on the Channel.

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