Four asylum seekers were rescued by a fishing boat when their dinghy got into trouble off the Kent coast.
The fishing vessel's captain Matt Coker, 37, said he came to the asylum seekers' aid about three miles from Dover on Saturday.
They had tied a red T-shirt to an oar to attract attention, Mr Coker said.
A Home Office spokesman confirmed four people had been taken to Dover and "will be processed in line with the immigration rules".
Mr Coker, skipper of The Royal Charlotte, said he spotted three men and one woman "in distress" on the dinghy at about 10:30 BST.
His fishing party approached the smaller craft, pulled the four people on board and administered first aid before calling the Coastguard.
Mr Coker said: "As I got over to them I could see they were clearly in distress and the boat was half full of water, so they sort of made a leap for the boat as we got near."
He added: "They didn't speak any English but they kept saying 'Iran' because I was asking where they had come from and if they were OK."