Search for missing woman following operation to pick up migrants off Thanet coast called off

Ramsgate RNLI all-weather boat Photo Mark Stanford

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,


  1. Hmmm . . . so these people have travelled nearly four thousand miles across six or eight other European countries to try to illegally gain entry to England.

    Perhaps it is about time we did something to stop being so attractive . . .

  2. Someone has just drowned but John’s first impulse is not to show sympathy.

    But don’t worry John, for if we leave the EU Britain will become a less attractive destination for most. Big investors excepted.

    • Yes Martha. Sad isn’t it. Some poor woman died alone by drowning at sea. She was a human being, just like us.

      • Don’t blame me for a lack of sympathy – try blaming the six or eight European countries that were complicit in facilitating her passage to the English Channel !

        Let us hope that it stops happening when we leave the EU as Martha predicts . . .

  3. Would there be symathy for illegal immigration if contagious diseases were brought over with them. For every illegal migrant that gets to stay, that number should be deducted from the UK’s immigration quota for the year. They know the risks when they attempt to get to the UK. Europe should do more to halt what is going on, and seek to track down the criminals who are exploiting the situation.

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