Three migrants have died after a boat with around 50 people on board capsized in the freezing English Channel in the early hours of Wednesday December 14.
A major rescue operation was launched early today after a small boat ran into difficulties in the English Channel near Kent, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency said.
Three people are understood to have died and 43 were rescued from the stricken craft after the UK coastguard, the French Navy and an air ambulance raced to the site in the middle of the Channel.
Searches are going to continue all day but rescuers are no longer looking for survivors, given the freezing temperature of the Channel.
Authorities have not yet officially confirmed the number of fatalities.
Medics prepared for ‘multiple casualties’ after the major air and sea rescue operation in the English Channel.
The migrant boat got into difficulties in the early hours of this morning. Emergency calls reporting a migrant boat in distress were received by the UK coastguard shortly before 3am.
As well as an HM Coastguard Search and Rescue helicopter vessels at the scene include two RNLI lifeboats from Ramsgate and Rye, the Royal Navy patrol boat HMS Severn, a French coastguard patrol boat Kermorvan as well as two fishing vessels.
East Kent Hospitals said in a statement they were “placed on standby in the early hours of this morning following an incident off the Kent coast, working with SeaCAMB, Navy, Border Force, Kent Police and other partners. We were stood down at around 9am.”
The rescue comes less than a day after the Prime Minister announced a raft of new plans to try to stop the illegal flow of migrant boats and reduce the asylum backlog of around 150,000 cases.
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