Newborn baby rescued by RNLI after nine-hour Channel crossing

Mother risked trip in hope of ‘the best life’

Liam James
Saturday 09 October 2021 19:59 BST
<p>The infant was brought to shore ahead of her mother </p>

The infant was brought to shore ahead of her mother

A newborn baby has been rescued by the RNLI after enduring a nine-hour journey across the English Channel with a group of migrants.

The baby girl, called Ayyan, was carried to the shore at Dungeness in Kent by a lifeboat worker and was shortly joined by her mother, who was also rescued.

One man among the migrants who could speak English told Sky News that French Police watched the group leave. Asked if they tried to stop them, he said: “No, they don’t say anything.”

He also translated for Ayyan’s mother who said her baby was doing well and that she was pleased to have arrived in Britain. She said she was prepared to risk her safety to cross the Channel as “England has the best life”.

Ayyan is thought to be between two weeks and one month old.

Ivor Bennett, a Sky News correspondent, said: “Several of the migrants were shivering as they were helped off the lifeboat onto Dungeness’s shingle beach.

“Those who did speak said they were from Iraq and Iran, including one man who said it was his “dream” to live here.

Another boat carrying between 15 and 20 migrants arrived at Dungeness later on Saturday, Sky News said.

More than 17,000 migrants have reached the UK across the Channel so far this year, double the figure for the whole of 2020.

The government said the rise was “unacceptable” and seeks to deter crossings by making it illegal to enter Britain without clearance. The UN Human Rights Council said the government risks violating international law and said the numbers were small in a global perspective.

Priti Patel, the home secretary, made a £54m deal with France in July to patrol the Channel on behalf of the UK Border Force but threatened to pull the funding if targets to turn more people back were not met.

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