Rescue teams resume search for missing crew of sunken vessel

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Fishing boat sinking, © PA Wire/PA Images
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By Tess de la Mare, PA

Two lifeboats and several fishing boats are searching for two men missing after a scalloping vessel sank off the coast of East Sussex in England on Saturday morning.

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 after he was found clinging to a lifebuoy on Saturday morning and the search for the other two crew was called off at around 11pm.

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.

The search resumed at first light on Sunday, with the lifeboats based at Eastbourne and Newhaven leading the effort.

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

Lifeboats based at Eastbourne and Newhaven were leading the effort (Steve Parsons/PA)

A spokeswoman for the Coastguard said Eastbourne and Birling Gap Coastguard Rescue Teams are also conducting 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.

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A GoFundMe page set up to support the families of the two missing men has so far raised more than £2,000 (€2,241).

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.”

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