Three people have died and more fatalities are feared after an incident involving a small boat on the English Channel on Wednesday morning.
The Royal Navy, French navy, HM Coastguard and RNLI lifeboats have all launched a major operation off the coast of Kent.
RNLI lifeboats were launched from Dover at 3.07am, followed by vessels from Ramsgate and Hastings.
It has been reported that the boat is likely to have been carrying migrants risking the crossing from France.
It comes a day after Prime Minister Rishi Sunak unveiled a package of new measures to “stop the boats”.
More than 44,000 people have made the dangerous crossing this year, Government figures show.
It follows a fatal incident in November 2021 when at least 27 migrants died after a dinghy sank while heading to the UK from France.
Dover MP Natalie Elphicke said: “I am very saddened to hear that lives are feared to have been lost following a small boat tragedy in the English Channel this morning.
“My thoughts and prayers are with all those involved.”
Home secretary Suella Braverman said: “I am aware of a distressing incident in the Channel this morning and I am being kept constantly updated while agencies respond and urgently establish the full facts.
“My heartfelt thoughts are with all those involved.”
The Government said “all relevant agencies” are involved.
A spokesman said: “We are aware of an incident in UK waters and all relevant agencies are supporting a co-ordinated response.
“Further details will be provided in due course.”
Coastguard rescue teams from Deal, Dungeness and Folkestone are involved in the operation, along with helicopters from Lydd and Lee on Solent, and another from the French navy is also taking part.
A fishing vessel in the area is assisting with the rescue while an air ambulance has also been sent.