Four people died when a refugee boat capsized in the English Channel.
RNLI lifeboats were launched from Dover at 3.07am, followed by others from Ramsgate and Hastings.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak expressed his “sadness” at the “small boat capsizing” in the English Channel and told MPs there had been a “tragic loss of life”.
Royal Navy, French Navy, Coastguard and RNLI lifeboats were all involved in a major rescue operation off the Kent coast this morning.
A government spokesman said: “At 03:05 today the authorities were made aware of an incident in the English Channel involving a small migrant boat in distress.
“Following a coordinated search and rescue operation led by HM Coastguard, we regret that there have been four confirmed deaths as a result of this incident. The investigation is ongoing and we will provide more information in due course.
“This is a truly tragic incident. Our thoughts are with the friends and families of all those who lost their lives today.”
Government sources said 43 people were rescued, of whom more than 30 were pulled from the water.
Speaking in the House of Commons, Mr Sunak said: “I am sure the whole House will share my sadness at the capsizing of a small boat in the canal in the early hours of this morning and the tragic loss of life.
“Our hearts go out to all those affected and our appreciation to those involved in the extensive rescue operation.”
At Dover, a black body bag was brought ashore on a stretcher from the RNLI lifeboat at Dover at around 11.15am and taken to forensic tents outside RNLI headquarters.
It is likely that the Channel experienced freezing temperatures overnight while a cold snap swept across Britain.
The overnight temperature recorded in Dungeness ranged from 0C to 1C, according to the Met Office.
The tragedy came a day after Mr Sunak unveiled a series of new measures to curb Channel crossings when he told MPs: “We have to stop the boats.”
https://www.theargus.co.uk/news/23192025.four-confirmed-dead-migrant-boat-capsized-english-channel/?ref=rss Four confirmed dead after migrant boat capsized in English Channel