Search resumes for missing crew of Brixham fishing vessel

The search began after Joanna C sank off the coast of Sussex yesterday morning

The search began after Joanna C sank off the coast of Sussex yesterday morning - Credit: Archant

A search resumed at first light this morning for the two missing crew members after a Brixham-registered fishing vessel sank off the Sussex coast yesterday.

One man was rescued yesterday from the water by the Newhaven RNLI lifeboat. He was found clinging to a lifebuoy. He has been transferred to hospital.

As the people of Brixham and across Torbay last night placed lighted candles in their windows in a show of love and support to the fishermen’s families, Chris Thomas, deputy sirector of HM Coastguard, said: “HM Coastguard’s National Maritime Operations Centre has coordinated a major rescue effort, with many units searching tirelessly since first light and finding one casualty who has been recovered safely to hospital.

“Sadly, two other crewmen have not yet been found and all our thoughts are with their families and friends.

“It is testament to the local maritime community that HM Coastguard were so admirably supported throughout the day by nearby vessels and the local fishing communities who joined us in force and made strenuous efforts to locate their colleagues during the search.

“At one point, Coastguard coordinators described tracking 14 vessels covering the search plan area including the two RNLI all-weather lifeboats at sea.”

The search continues today for the two missing crew members after the fishing vessel Joanna C sank off Newhaven.

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The search began at 6am yesterday (Saturday) when the Coastguard received an EPIRB alert located three nautical miles off the coast at Seaford near Newhaven from the emergency beacon from the vessel.

A Coastguard rescue helicopter was immediately sent, supported by the Coastguard rescue helicopter based at Lee On Solent and RNLI all-weather lifeboats from both Newhaven and Eastbourne.

Birling Gap Coastguard rescue team was sent to check for sightings from the shore.

Other fishing vessels in the area responded to the Coastguard radio broadcasts and helped with the search.

The fishing vessel Joanna C is a 45ft scalloping vessel registered in Brixham and three people were on board at the time of the sinking.

Yesterday, Piers Stanbury, Coastguard controller at the National Maritime Operations Centre, said: “Thankfully, one of the three people on board at the time of sinking has been pulled out of the water and brought to shore by the Newhaven RNLI lifeboat but the intensive air and sea search for the two missing crew continues.

“Debris has been located close to location of the EPIRB alert location but no life raft has been found as yet.”