A NUMBER of migrants have gone missing after they crossed the English Channel.

A group of 24 people, including four children, was stopped at Winchelsea Beach near Rye this afternoon.

However, it is thought that some them, possibly a family including children, may have left the beach on their arrival and there is concern for their safety and welfare.

There were also several other small boats stopped off the Kent coast.

A spokeswoman for the Maritime and Coastguard Agency said: “HM Coastguard has been assisting Border Force with a number of incidents off the Kent and Sussex coast across the morning.

“Rye lifeboats, a HM Coastguard search and rescue helicopter from Lydd and a number of Border Force vessels were sent.

Sussex Police are also on the scene along with Border Force.

“We are committed to safeguarding life around the seas and coastal areas of this country. HM Coastguard is only concerned with preservation of life, rescuing those in trouble and bringing them safely back to shore, where they will be handed over to the relevant partner emergency services or authorities.”

This incident brings the total number of people trying to reach Britain in 2019 to 849. The perilous journey across the Channel involves negotiating the Dover Strait, the world’s busiest shipping lane which sees more than 500 ships a day pass through it.

On August 9 an Iranian woman fell from a boat as she attempted the crossing. She is missing and presumed drowned after a search was called off the following day.

Following this Charlie Elphicke, Conservative MP for Dover and Deal, said: “The only way to bring the migrant crisis to an end is for traffickers and migrants alike to know the crossings won’t succeed.

“That means 24/7 surveillance of the French coast – including investment in the long-range thermal imaging cameras used elsewhere in the world – so that any boats are spotted, intercepted and returned safely back to France.”