Suspected migrants found in dinghy off Dover coast

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Media captionSimon Jones explains how the men were rescued from this dinghy

Two Iranian men have been rescued after spending eight hours in the English Channel in an inflatable dinghy.

The suspected migrants were picked up about a mile and a half off the Kent coast in the early hours by a lifeboat crew concerned for their safety.

They were located after staff on a passing ferry spotted the light from their mobile phone.

Both men had not eaten for two days and were said to be cold and in a state of shock.

They were taken into Dover Harbour and treated by paramedics before being handed to the authorities.

Andy Roberts from Dover RNLI said: "The Pride of Canterbury P&O ferry, leaving Dover harbour, spotted a very weak light that flashed occasionally and they slowed down and diverted towards this light.

"It was a mobile phone that was being held up.

"They [the migrants] had been at sea for in excess of seven hours and they were very cold and rather shaken up but Dover lifeboat diverted because of their condition and concern."

The pair had called 999 for help at about 02.30 BST saying they did not know where they were but the RNLI were unable to locate them until they were spotted by the ferry.

A spokesman for the Home Office said the two man were "handed to immigration officials by Kent Police for questioning".

He said border security was "paramount" and they always worked with partners to "detect and deter" people who tried to reach the UK illegally.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption A lifeboat was sent to rescue the men in the dinghy because of "their condition and concern"

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