Search continues for person in the water following operation to pick up migrants off Thanet coast

The Coastguard helicopter Photo by Olly Small

The search for the person who was reported missing in the Channel  continues this morning.

Margate and Ramsgate RNLI crews and the Coastguard helicopter were part of an operation yesterday (August 9) following a report of a person in the water from a vessel with migrants aboard drifting in the shipping lane.

The search, which also involved Lee on Solent and Lydd, was deployed some 20 miles off Broadstairs.

It is understood that  19 migrants were picked up by Ramsgate lifeboat crew and brought back to harbour where ambulance, police and Border Force were stationed. Five were from Iraq and 14 from Iran.

In an earlier call out yesterday morning 30 migrants were intercepted crossing the Channel in four small boats. Border Force officials were alerted at 4am.

The vessels were picked up by a Border Force cutter and coastal patrol boat. Those on board were Iranian and Afghan nationals.

Search for person in the water continues

HM Coastguard  coordinated a search and rescue response after reports of a person -thought to be a woman- in the water, approximately 24nm off North Foreland.

The search was suspended just before 2am today and resumed at first light.

A Maritime and Coastguard Agency spokesperson said: “Broadcasts to shipping continued and passing vessels kept a sharp look out throughout the night.

“Due to the changing search area the Belgian Coast Guard is now coordinating the incident as the majority of the search area is in their waters.

“A Belgian search and rescue helicopter and the HM Coastguard search and rescue helicopter from Lydd are continuing to search. Broadcasts to shipping are being made by both HM Coastguard and the Belgian Coast Guard.”

The Home Office has since said its thoughts are with the family of the missing woman,