A search and rescue operation has begun in the English Channel following reports of an incident involving a small boat off the coast of Kent on Wednesday.
The Maritime and Coastguard Agency said HM Coastguard was working in co-ordination with other relevant bodies including the Border Force, Royal Navy and Kent Police.
“We have sent Dover, Dungeness, Hastings and Ramsgate RNLI lifeboats, and Deal, Dungeness and Folkestone coastguard rescue teams, along with the coastguard area commander,” the agency said.
“HM Coastguard helicopters from Lydd and Lee on Solent and one from the French Navy are involved.”
UK home secretary Suella Braverman on Wednesday offered her “heartfelt thoughts” to the individuals involved the incident.
In a statement on Twitter, Braverman said she was aware of the “distressing incident” and was being kept updated while agencies “respond and urgently establish the full facts”. She added: “My heartfelt thoughts are with all those involved.”
The French Maritime Authority said in a statement on Twitter that a helicopter and a navy boat had been sent to English shores early on Wednesday, in a rescue operation led by Dover.
The British government said officials were aware of an incident in UK waters, adding that “all relevant agencies” were “supporting a co-ordinated response”.
“Further details will be provided in due course,” the government added.