A 47-year-old Iraqi man had to be rescued this week after attempting to swim across the English channel to illegally sneak into the United Kingdom.
The Iraqi managed to swim around three miles before he was spotted in the channel at 6:30 a.m. by local fishermen, who then alerted the French authorities at the CROSS Gris-Nez government office. A gendarme ship was dispatched to rescue the man, France Bleu reports.
Following the rescue, the migrant was taken to a local hospital where he was diagnosed with slight hypothermia due to the fact he attempted the crossing wearing only a basic swimsuit.
Arnaud Chassery, a swimming specialist, commented on the incident saying the first signs of hypothermia likely occurred at least two hours prior to his rescue. “There are huge currents, you have to imagine rivers with incredible currents that will take you a shot far to the north, a shot far to the south,” he said.
While rare, the case is not the first time migrants have attempted to swim the body of water separating France and Britain.
In 2015, two Syrians attempted the crossing but ended up drowning, with their bodies being discovered in the Netherlands and Norway due to the currents.
Earlier this year the House of Commons Home Affairs Select Committee revealed that between January 2018 and February 2019, 739 migrants had attempted to cross the Channel, with 135 migrants managing to land in England without being intercepted.
Although the majority of the migrants were intercepted by the authorities, 293 were transported to Britain by the Border Force.
Many thousands more migrants attempt to enter Britain illegally by other means, such as by breaking into lorries entering the country by ferry or the Channel Tunnel.
The situation in the English Channel has not improved over the summer, with Conservative MP for Dover Charlie Elphicke predicting a “summer of chaos on the Channel” in June.
Earlier this month, over 40 illegal migrants landed in the country in a single weekend.
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