Off Dunkirk, a "swimmer in trouble" was seen Sunday around 15 hours. Searches stopped at midnight and have not resumed since. An investigation is opened by the Maritime Gendarmerie.

A swimmer with a makeshift buoy disappeared Sunday off Dunkirk in the north. The searches, interrupted in the night, did not allow to find it, according to the maritime prefecture which did not have more details on its identity.

A Belgian sailor with a single sailor on board found around 15 hours "a swimmer in trouble with a makeshift buoyancy system" located 12 nautical miles (22 km) northwest of Dunkirk, according to a statement released Monday by the maritime prefecture of the Channel and the North Sea. He "tried several times to hoist him on board, without success" and gave the alert once returned to the port of Dunkirk around 20:30.

Belgian means made available

The regional operational monitoring and rescue center (Cross) Gris-Nez then broadcast a message "mayday relay" to the attention of surrounding ships and engaged a helicopter of the Navy and a canoe of the national society of the rescuers at sea (SNSM) of Dunkirk.

Around 22:40, two nautical means of Ostend in Belgium were also deployed, without success. The search was stopped at 00:30 and should not resume.

Asked that it may be a migrant trying to cross the Channel, the prefecture said he could not speak. An investigation is opened by the Maritime Gendarmerie.