The British Coastguard says it has rescued 19 people from the English Channel after their inflatable boat started to take on water.

The Home Office said Sunday they were taken to the port of Dover and are being quizzed by British border officials. It is not yet clear if the people were migrants trying to enter Britain from France or other parts of Europe.

They were rescued late Saturday night after an operation that included a search-and-rescue helicopter and lifeboats dispatched from several English ports.

The Coastguard received a rescue call shortly before midnight Saturday when the boat was off the coast of Dymchurch, 75 miles (120 kilometers) southeast of London. They were traveling in a rigid-hulled inflatable boat and it took rescuers several hours to locate the small craft.