BREAKING: Border Force responds to ‘urgent incident’ off the Essex coast near Felixstowe

RNLI, coastguard and Border Force launch urgent ‘migrant’ rescue mission off Essex coast: Search helicopter, plane and lifeboat scan water for ‘dinghy’ at Harwich

  • Border Force would not explain the nature of the incident, despite requests
  • But HM Coastguard confirmed it was a rescue operation it was coordinating
  • It sent a helicopter and fixed wing aircraft to look for anyone in the waters
  • It said it was looking for a vessel that needed rescuing and its inhabitants
  • The waters are used by people smugglers to try and get migrants into the UK 

Border Force officers are dealing with an ‘urgent incident’ this morning off the coast of Harwich, Essex, after reports a dinghy with migrants onboard was in trouble.

Rescuers are still dealing with the ‘ongoing’ call-out, which has even sparked spotting aircraft being launched to help. 

The rescue is being coordinated by HM Coastguard and it sent a helicopter from Lydd and a fixed wing plane.

It is understood they are looking for a dinghy and its passengers who left France early on Monday. The location of the search is not the usual area for migrants to attempt crossings by inflatable.

The RNLI has also confirmed it had launched a lifeboat to the scene.

Border Force officers are dealing with a serious incident this morning in the sea at Harwich

A spokeswoman told MailOnline: ‘HM Coastguard will continue to safeguard life around the seas and coastal areas of the UK, working with search and rescue resources in the area.

‘If a vessel needs search and rescue assistance, HM Coastguard will continue to respond and rescue those in danger.’

A Home Office spokeswoman told MailOnline: ‘Border Force is urgently responding to an ongoing incident off the coast of Harwich.

The location of the rescue is near port of Harwich in Essex but other ships are moving freely

The location of the rescue is near port of Harwich in Essex but other ships are moving freely

‘Further details will be provided after the initial response and once the situation has been resolved.’

The route is a known people-smuggling route and scores of migrants have been discovered there before.

Because it is such a busy port criminals often use fishing boats to get them onshore, rather than dinghies.


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