The search for a missing woman in the channel has been called off pending further information.
A thorough and extensive air and sea search was carried out for the missing woman -who had been aboard a small vessel carrying migrants – involving UK, French and Belgian coast guards with nothing found.
HM Coastguard was contacted just after 1.15pm yesterday ( August 9) by a cargo vessel reporting they could see a number of people in a small vessel, in the Channel, approximately 24 nm off North Foreland.
Three people in the water
Ramsgate RNLI Lifeboat was sent out and on arrival they were told that three people who were wearing buoyancy aids had entered the water and were missing.
Two of the missing were quickly found, on a nearby vessel, however a woman remained unaccounted for.
Margate and Dover RNLI lifeboats and HM Coastguard search and rescue helicopters from Lydd and Lee on Solent were sent. Broadcasts to all vessels to keep a sharp look out were made by HM Coastguard and the French coast guard.
The 17 people recovered from the small vessel, and the two who were found on the nearby craft, were taken by Ramsgate RNLI Lifeboat to shore, where they were met by Border Force and Kent Police.
A Maritime and Coastguard Agency spokesperson said: “Due to the very poor weather in the region overnight, the air search was suspended at 2am today ( August 10) Broadcasts were made throughout the night and shipping in the area continued to keep a look out.
“At first light the search continued, due to a changing search area the Belgian coast guard oversaw the coordination as the majority of the updated search area was in their search and rescue region. A Belgian search and rescue helicopter and the HM Coastguard search and rescue helicopters from Lydd and Humberside were sent.
“The search was terminated at 2pm.”
Of the 19 people brought to shore five were from Iraq and 14 from Iran.
The Home Office said its thoughts are with the family of the missing woman,