Migrants to Europe
File photo for illustrative purposes: Migrants on an overcrowded wooden boat wait to be rescued in the Mediterranean Sea, Thursday, Sept. 19, 2019. Image Credit: AP

London: A small boat carrying migrants has sunk off the southeastern coast of England, killing some of those on board, the BBC reported on Wednesday.

“It’s understood there have been fatalities after a migrant boat sank in the Channel. This has not yet been confirmed by the authorities,” the BBC’s local reporter said on Twitter.

A spokesman at the Ministry of Defence confirmed an incident was ongoing. The Coastguard Agency said it was coordinating the response, sending lifeboats, rescue teams and helicopters to “an incident involving a small boat off Kent”.

Temperatures have plunged across Britain, bringing snow to some parts of the country. The temperature was logged at 2 degrees Celsius in a nearby town.

Small boats, often inflatable dinghies, travel regularly across the Channel carrying migrants from France to Britain.

The number who arrived through that route hit a record level of more than 40,000 this year.

In November 2021, 27 people died while attempting to cross the Channel in an inflatable dinghy - the worst recorded accident of its kind in the Channel “The incident is ongoing and we have no further information,” the Coastguard Agency said.