A huge rescue operation is underway in the English Channel after a boat carrying more than 80 migrants, with small children on board, capsized in the water. 

It is reported that the boat got into difficulty earlier this morning and sent out a mayday to the Coastguard with helicopters and lifeboats dispatched to the scene. 

Around 80 migrants are understood to have been rescued after a boat got into difficulty while crossing the Channel.

Some of the group are thought to have been pulled from the water, with the coastguard and lifeboat crews called to help Border Force during the incident off the Kent coast on Thursday morning.

MailOnline understands that no deaths have been reported at this stage and it is so far unclear whether anyone will need to be taken to hospital.

Two small boats crossing the English Channel (stock image). Around 80 migrants are understood to have been rescued after a boat got into difficulty while crossing the Channel

Two small boats crossing the English Channel (stock image). Around 80 migrants are understood to have been rescued after a boat got into difficulty while crossing the Channel

The Telegraph claims that three children were also onboard – including a six-month-old baby – when the small boats engine failed midway through the crossing.  

GB News reports that both British and French vessel  have been sent out to assist the vessel- which is believed to be about halfway between Calais and Dover.

The Dover lifeboat as well as an RNLI Rhib could be seen mid channel off the Cap Griz Nez on the French coast.

Border Force vessel Defender is also mid channel, according the Marine Traffic website.

It remains unconfirmed how the ship got into trouble.

In a statement, the Coastguard said: ‘HM Coastguard is coordinating the response to a small boat incident in the channel this morning, 6 June. Coastguard helicopters from Lydd and Lee-on-Solent and RNLI lifeboats have been sent.’  

MailOnline have approached the Home Office and the Coastguard for a comment. 

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