Coastguard calls off search for two fisherman missing after their boat sank

The Coastguard has called off a search for two missing fisherman after their boat sank off the Sussex coast yesterday.

The major rescue mission was brought to a close earlier this afternoon, with no more survivors found and the men still missing. 

One of the Joanna C’s crew was found clinging to a life buoy on Saturday, when boats around the East Sussex coast joined the effort to find the remaining victims following the incident.

In a statement, the Coastguard explained: ‘HM Coastguard confirmed that the search which resumed at 7.30am Sunday morning, has now finished at 2.30pm. Units helping with the search today included Newhaven and Eastbourne RNLI lifeboats and Eastbourne and Birling Gap Coastguard Rescue Teams as well as local fishing vessels. Sadly nothing further has been found today.’

Two lifeboats and several fishing boats were searching for the two men missing after their scalloping vessel put out an emergency distress beacon on Saturday at around 6am.

Two RNLI lifeboats and a helicopter joined the search, before one man was pulled from the water.

The search was called off at around 11pm, before resuming at first light on Sunday, with the lifeboats based at Eastbourne and Newhaven leading the effort.

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.


HM Coastguard said a number of commercial fishing boats were also helping the search, while merchant vessels in the area were all asked to keep a lookout.

A spokeswoman for the Coastguard said Eastbourne and Birling Gap Coastguard Rescue Teams said a shoreline search had been conducted 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.

Chris Thomas, deputy director of HM Coastguard, said on Saturday: ‘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.’

A GoFundMe page set up to support the families of the two missing men has so far raised more than £5,000.

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.

To donate to the fundraiser, click here.

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