Huge search for missing crew after boat sinks – one man found clinging to lifebuoy

A huge search is underway for missing crew members after their fishing boat sank this morning.

One man has been rescued from the water by the Newhaven RNLI lifeboat after he was found clinging to a lifebuoy.

He has been taken to hospital as the “intensive” search continues for two other crew members.

HM Coastguard confirmed that they received an alert three nautical miles off the coast at Seaford from the emergency beacon of a fishing vessel called Joanna C.

A fixed wing aircraft is set join the search effort this afternoon, although local reports from Sussex suggest the search has had to scale down in response to the darkness this evening.

Piers Stanbury, HM Coastguard Controller, 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. “

The Coastguard rescue helicopter, lifeboats from Newhaven and Eastbourne.

A shore rescue team has all been deployed to search for the missing crew.

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

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency said: “HM Coastguard immediately sent the Coastguard rescue helicopter from Lydd and RNLI all weather lifeboats from both Newhaven and Eastbourne.

“Birling Gap Coastguard Rescue Team has been sent to check for sightings from the shore.

“Another fishing vessel in the area responded to the Coastguard radio broadcasts and is helping with the search.

“The Coastguard rescue helicopter based at Solent will also join the air search.

“The fishing vessel is a 45 foot scalloping vessel with three people on board. The search is ongoing.”