Belgium to Invest 80k Euros in Drones to Track Migrants

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The Belgian police are investing around 80,000 (£73,100) euros into a new project using drones to track the movements of illegal migrants along the coastal region.

The investment will go towards one large and two smaller drones and will be used to monitor the coastline between La Panne and Nieuwpoort near the French border, Belgian French-language newspaper Le Soir reports.

The most expensive drone that is to be bought by the police is said to be able to travel at around 40 miles per hour and can fly to an altitude of around half a mile, but will be limited to 300 feet due to security concerns.

Along with tracking the movements of illegal migrants, the drones will also be used to search local beaches for missing children, missing elderly, and locate people who may potentially be drowning in the sea.

The initiative comes after neighbouring France announced in March that they would also be investing in drones to monitor the English Channel for illegal migrants.

The French gendarmes said they would be training eight drone pilots in the Pas-de-Calais region and they would be supported by helicopter teams along with patrol boats operating in the sea itself.

Illegal migration across the English Channel has seen a resurgence in the last year with dozens of small boats attempting the crossing in early July.

Many of the migrants, who often claim to be Iranian, buy boats from criminal people smugglers for large amounts of cash but others have been known to steal local fishing boats in order to attempt the crossing as well.

While the vast majority of those trying to get to the UK illegally across the channel use some sort of ship or boat, one Iraqi man tried to make the crossing by swimming it last month.

The 47-year-old had to be rescued by French authorities and was diagnosed with slight hypothermia as he wore a simple swimsuit while trying to cross the channel.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)


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