Man rescued and two missing after fishing boat sinks off coast of East Sussex

One of the three crew members was found clinging to a lifebuoy while the search for the other two continues, HM Coastguard said.

Man rescued and two missing after fishing boat sinks off coast of East Sussex

One man has been pulled from the water and two are still missing after a fishing boat sank off the coast of East Sussex.

HM Coastguard scrambled a search and rescue helicopter after receiving an EPIRB distress beacon from fishing vessel Joanna C at 6am on Saturday.

The rescue helicopter based at Lydd, Kent, was deployed along with two RNLI lifeboats based in Newhaven and Eastbourne to try to find the missing boat.

The beacon’s signal put the vessel three nautical miles off the coast of Seaford, near Newhaven.

In an update at 10.30am, HM Coastguard said one man had been rescued from the water by the Newhaven RNLI lifeboat and has been transferred to hospital.

He was found clinging to a lifebuoy.

The Joanna C is a 45ft scalloping vessel registered in Brixham, the Coastguard said, and three people were aboard when it sank.

The search for the two missing crewmen was called off at 11pm, but will resume at first light on Sunday.

As well as the RNLI lifeboats, the Birling Gap Coastguard Rescue Team checked for sightings from the shore.

Another fishing vessel close to the area helped with the search, while the Coastguard rescue helicopter based in the Solent was deployed to relieve the Kent-based aircraft.

Chris Thomas, deputy director of HM Coastguard, said: “HM Coastguard’s National Maritime Operations Centre has coordinated a major rescue effort today, 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.”

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