Search called off in hunt for missing fishermen

Rescue teams have called off the search for two fishermen missing since Saturday morning after their boat sank off the coast of East Sussex.

The Joanna C put out an emergency distress beacon on Saturday at around 6am, with two RNLI lifeboats and a helicopter joining the search.

One man was pulled from the water at after he was found clinging to a lifebuoy on Saturday morning, but the search for the other two crew was called off at around 11pm.

HM Coastguard said the search had resumed at first light on Sunday morning, around 7.30am, but called off at 2.30pm after no trace of the two men was found.

The Joanna C is a 45ft scalloping boat registered in Brixham and its last known location was three nautical miles off the coast of Seaford, near Newhaven.

Fishing boat sinking
Fishing boat sinking

Lifeboats based at Eastbourne and Newhaven were leading the effort on Sunday, while a number of commercial fishing boats also joined the search.

Merchant vessels in the area were also asked to keep a lookout, the Coastguard said.

Eastbourne and Birling Gap Coastguard Rescue Teams conducted a shoreline search around Beachy Head.

As many as 14 vessels combed the waters where the boat was last seen on Saturday, while two helicopters were scrambled for the initial phase of the search.

Debris from the boat was found at the same time as the first crew member.

A GoFundMe page set up to support the families of the two missing men has so far raised more than £3,500.

Donations will be passed to the Fishermen’s Mission, a charity providing practical, emotional and financial support to fishermen and their families, which will distribute it to those affected.

Organiser Tony Rowe said on the page: “Our prayers are with those directly involved and the wider community who all have been affected in some way.”