Brexit leader Nigel Farage has reported he and a friend saved two illegal migrants from drowning in rough waters in the English Channel.
The veteran campaigner has in recent months switched his focus from Brexit to exposing the ongoing crisis in the English Channel, and in particular the way the French authorities have often escorted migrant boats into British waters instead of intercepting and turning them back, but on Sunday he had put to sea to go fishing.
“We arrive, gotta say the forecast was wrong. It wasn’t sunny, it was really overcast. The wind was much stronger than we’d expected and the sea was a lot rougher, be we thought, ‘the hell with it, let’s go’,” he told followers on his YouTube channel.
“About five miles out into the English Channel, ten past eight this morning, we see, in the distance, a small orange boat bobbing around. I found it hard to believe that anybody else was out there, let alone a small boat, but we made our way over to it, and it was an inflatable kayak,” he said, showing some footage of the two men, who had reportedly been at sea for some 18 hours.
“One of them was not in a good state at all. We came alongside and said to them ‘We’ve just called the coast guard, help will be coming,’ he continued — but then, with the water “becoming more choppy”, disaster struck, with the boat overturning.
This morning I stopped a tragedy waiting to happen in the English Channel. Two migrants in a small kayak would have drowned. pic.twitter.com/MLxxv3hfCD
— Nigel Farage (@Nigel_Farage) November 29, 2020
“One of them had a life jacket on, the other didn’t — he went straight down under the water,” Farage recalled — but, thankfully, he came back up afterwards, and the pair were “able to grab on to each end of the upturned kayak”.
Farage and his friend struggled to try and haul one of the migrants on to their boat, “hoping he’d use his legs to help force himself up — he did not have the strength.”
Instead, they turned the kayak back over and helped him back into it, wearing a ring, followed by his companion, and tied it up.
“They were saved, but they were very wet, obviously, very, very cold. We gave them a couple of cups of hot coffee with sugar, which seemed to improve their mood a bit — then Border Force turn up,” said Farage, his own mood turning.
“You know, this Border Force that we spend so much money for — and Border Force’s instructions were for us to take the two onto our boat, and they would then collect them direct from us,” he continued.
“So we said, ‘Look, if we try and get one of these guys out and over the gunnels, number one we’ve tried already, it’s very, very difficult, he’s not in a good state, and number two, as soon as we do that, the other bloke it going to get tipped straight back into the water.'”
This resulted in a “stand-off” with the border agency, Farage said, adding that he was “hugely unimpressed with their professionalism in that situation.”
Luckily a lifeboat from the Royal National Lifeboat Institution was ultimately able to take them aboard — after “about an hour”.
Shakedown: Boris Govt to Pay France £28m to Start Stopping More Boat Migrants https://t.co/D84yb2IRkN
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) November 29, 2020
“This, today, I mean, the weather today was dreadful. They’d given up rowing, they were five miles out in the English Channel. Apart from us there wasn’t a single other boat in the area,” Farage said gravely.
“There is no question they wouldn’t have survived. Even if they hadn’t tipped out, one of them, I would have thought, within an hour or two, would’ve been dead of hypothermia, and probably not much longer for the other guy.
“And bear in mind, all of this is taking place in a week when we’ve given the French government another £28 million — yes, another £28 million — to stop the boats from coming,” he added.
“We need to send signals, otherwise what I saw today will, over the course of these winter months, lead to a series of tragedies, and possibly one or two big ones,” he predicted.
“This was a kayak with two people, but as we know there are boats coming with many [more]; twenties, thirties, forties, even fifties have been seen crossing the Channel this year, he said.
Farage said that at the end of the Brexit transition the Home Secretary, Priti Patel, must say that “that anyone that comes by this route will not be allowed to stay; that’s what the Australians did, [and] if we don’t do it we’re going to see tragedy,” he said.
“I very nearly saw tragedy in the English Channel today. I have to say, it was a pretty frightening thing to see, and I repeat, had it not been slack tide they’d have been gone, and there’s nothing we could have done,” he warned.
“Priti Patel, you’ve told us again, and again, again that you will stop this trade. If you don’t make sure that from January 1st we have different rules that allow us to return people straight to France that come here illegally, then not only will another 10,000 or so come next year, but there will be tragedies in the Channel, so something needs to happen, and fast.”
Report: Channel Migrants ‘Threaten to Throw Their Children Into the Water’ to Keep French Away https://t.co/LEjdJXxU7y
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) May 29, 2020