RESCUE UNDER WAY IN ENGLISH CHANNEL Following major incident involving small boat


A major search and rescue operation is ongoing in the English Channel involving a small boat off the coast of Kent, near Dungeness.

A number of people are understood to have died in the incident and there were between 30 to 50 people are on board the vessel, a French source said.

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency said HM Coastguard is working with the RNLI, Royal Navy, Border Force, French navy and Kent Police to look for the boat, while an air ambulance has also been sent to the scene.

Temperatures have plunged below zero every night this week.

Searches will continue all day but rescuers are no longer looking for survivors, given the temperature of the water.

It comes just hours after Prime Minister Rishi Sunak promised to bring in new laws to tackle illegal immigration.

Among a raft of new measures unveiled to curb Channel crossings, he told MPs: “We have to stop the boats. And this government will do what must be done.”

As of midnight last night, 44,711 people had crossed the Channel aboard small boats in 2022, according to data analysed by this channel.

This includes 1,087 boats, with an average of 41 people per vessel.  In 2021, there were 28,526 arrivals.