Moment 21 migrants plunge overboard after capsizing 20ft YACHT in Rye

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Twenty-one migrants today dived from a yacht into a river after its sailor beached it at low tide on Saturday.

The group capsized the 20ft vessel when they rushed to one side to see why they had stopped moving, knocking it over into the water.

They got stranded near the shore of Rye Harbor in East Sussex around 1pm after crossing the English Channel and heading up the river.

Footage, shared with MailOnline, showed people desperately swimming towards a nearby dinghy which was deployed from the yacht.

Some people were forced to jump into the water as the yacht slowly rocked and capsized when too many people crowded to one side.

At least one man could be seen swimming in the water with a dull orange life vest.

It was unclear if the others had life jackets on when they jumped from the ship.

Footage taken later that evening showed the boat after it was refloated by responders from the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI).

The group capsized the 20ft vessel when they rushed to one side to see why they had stopped moving, knocking it over into the water.

They got stranded near the shore of Rye Harbor in East Sussex around 1pm after crossing the English Channel and heading up the river.  Some were forced to jump into the water

They got stranded near the shore of Rye Harbor in East Sussex around 1pm after crossing the English Channel and heading up the river. Some were forced to jump into the water

The 20ft yacht, with a sky blue colored bow, was seen flying a Union Jack as it was pulled into harbor by an RNLI vessel.

Speaking to MailOnline, a witness said the yacht was steered down the river by a single sailor and arrived quite late in the tide.

“He looked competent, he had the wet weather gear on, he had the sails down and he was driving – all the good things you would do when you’re going up a river in a yacht,” the local sailor said.

However, the sailor appeared to lose control of the yacht and beached it on the river bank, he said. Rather than backing completely into the river, the man made the ‘strange’ decision to back up and cruise straight into the bank a second time.

The eyewitness said he believed the sailor had been surprised by harsh conditions, including high winds.

“He was surprised by the weather,” he said. “He planned it well. He had to leave (from France) yesterday afternoon, when the weather dropped.

When the boat ran aground, the sailor “then got out a small dinghy and signaled someone from inside the yacht to get in, and rowed very skillfully to shore,” said The source.

Once they reached the shore together, the man “showed the yacht to the other person who had remained in the dinghy, and he fled”.

Footage, shared with MailOnline, showed people desperately swimming towards a nearby dinghy which was deployed from the yacht

Footage, shared with MailOnline, showed people desperately swimming towards a nearby dinghy which was deployed from the yacht

The person left in the dingy had to row back to the beached yacht to save others on board.  An eyewitness told the MailOnline they came ashore and fled the scene

The person left in the dingy had to row back to the beached yacht to save others on board. An eyewitness told the MailOnline they came ashore and fled the scene

The person left in the dingy had to row back to the beached yacht to save others on board.

“Someone else came out and then another and they were screaming and throwing ropes and then one of them jumped in (the water) and then another load came out and stood on the side and they were all screaming,” the source mentioned.

“So obviously, as all the weight was on one side and it was beached, the yacht fell on its side and most of it went overboard.”

He told MailOnline the eyewitnesses numbered around 20 people in total.

Border forces then went to the village and told residents they had arrested 16 people without identity papers, suggesting around four people are still at large, the source said.

“Everyone disappeared when everyone got off and when border forces arrived two hours later they were all gone,” he added.

‘But later that day they came back to look again at the yacht outside the lifeboat station tied up. They said the National Crime Agency was coming down in the morning because it’s a boat they’re interested in.

MailOnline has contacted Border Force and the Home Office for comment.

A spokesperson confirmed the incident was reported to authorities on Saturday.

Speaking after the incident, Minister for Justice and Combating Illegal Migration MP Tom Pursglove said: ‘The increase in dangerous Channel crossings is unacceptable. Not only are they a clear abuse of our immigration laws, but they also impact the UK taxpayer and put lives at risk. Rightly, the British public has had enough.

It was announced this week that up to 60 British taxpayer-paid CCTV cameras were to be installed along more than ten miles of French coastline in a bid to stop migrants crossing the English Channel.

They will travel more than ten miles of waterfront on the lookout for smugglers leading migrants to the sea.

A dozen will border the beaches of Sangatte, 14 in Wissant, seven in Ambleteuse and five in Audresselles. Other sites are to be agreed, but UK authorities will not be able to access the footage.

Costs of the £170,000 ‘Terminus’ project will be covered by the Treaty of Sandhurst signed by the UK and France in 2018.

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