Several people are feared to have died in an incident involving a small boat off the Kent coast.
RNLI lifeboats were launched from Dover just after 3am this morning, followed by boats from Ramsgate and Hastings after an incident was reported.
The boat is believed to have been carrying migrants who risked crossing from France, a day after Prime Minister Rishi Sunak unveiled a package of new measures to “stop the boats”.
According to government figures, more than 44,000 people made the dangerous crossing this year.
It follows a deadly incident in November 2021 when at least 27 migrants died after a rubber dinghy sank while traveling from France to the UK.
Dover MP Natalie Elphicke said: “I am very sad to hear there are fears that lives have been lost following a tragedy involving a small boat in the English Channel this morning.
“My thoughts and prayers are with everyone involved.”
Home Secretary Suella Braverman said: “I am aware of a disturbing incident in the canal this morning and will be kept updated as authorities respond and urgently establish the full facts.
“My sincere thoughts are with everyone involved.”
The government said “all relevant authorities” were involved.
A spokesman said: “We are aware of an incident in UK waters and all relevant authorities support a coordinated response.
“Further details will be announced in due course.”
Coastguard rescue teams from Deal, Dungeness and Folkestone are involved in the operation, along with helicopters from Lydd and Lee on the Solent, and another from the French Navy is also involved.
A fishing vessel in the area is helping with the rescue, while an ambulance has also been dispatched.
Hastings RNLI launched its all-weather lifeboat just after 5am this morning.
A Secamb spokesman said: “The South East Coast Ambulance Service was called by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency after an incident was reported in the channel around 3.40am on Wednesday 14 December.
“We have sent resources to Dover to support the Coastguard rescue effort. As this is an ongoing incident, we have no further updates at this time.”
https://www.theargus.co.uk/news/23190180.rnli-people-feared-dead-incident-off-kent-coast/?ref=rss RNLI: People feared death after an incident off the Kent coast