Multiple people are feared to have died in an incident off the coast of Essex.
The Home Secretary has described the â€œappallingâ€ incident in which several migrants are feared to be lost at sea after trying to reach Britain by boat as an â€œabsolute tragedyâ€.
As many as three people could be unaccounted for after trying to cross waters from France to the UK in a dinghy earlier this week.
Two men â€“ both Somali nationals â€“ were rescued off the Essex coast on Monday and searches for any remaining survivors have now been called off.
Speaking to the PA news agency on Thursday, Priti Patel said: â€œIt is a tragedy. It is an absolute tragedy, it really is.
â€œClearly there are investigations taking place right now so we have to let that investigation process occur.
â€œBut I can give everyone solid, solid assurance that my work with both France and other counterparts as well is very much based on stopping the loss of life.â€
When asked what she would say to their families, Ms Patel added: â€œIt is terrible, it is tragic and it is absolutely appalling.
â€œWe want to stop the loss of human life, and everything that we are doing as a Government is focusing on ensuring that we work in joint co-operation with other governments and other countries to actually get to the source of these issues, which is to stop the people smuggling.â€
Earlier this week, the Home Office said Border Force officers were "urgently" responding to an incident in the sea near the port town of Harwich.
The Maritime and Coastguard Agency said a Coastguard helicopter and a plane were sent to the incident, adding: â€œHM Coastguard has been co-ordinating a search and rescue response to an incident off Essex, working with Border Force and other partners.â€
A Home Office spokesman said the department would provide further details after the initial response once the situation had been resolved.
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