French authorities say eight migrants were rescued from a boat with a failed engine while trying to sneak across the English Channel to Britain.

The French regional maritime authority, or prefecture, said in a statement that the small rubber boat was spotted Tuesday of the coast of Calais.

A police helicopter monitoring the area helped a tugboat reach the migrants as the boat neared English territorial waters. The prefecture said the group brought back to French shores included two children. The maritime authority didn’t provide the migrants’ nationalities.

The Channel has seen a recent spike in migrants trying to cross from France to England in small boats. Calais has long been a magnet for migrants from Africa and the Mideast fleeing conflict or poverty.

Source: The Associated Press