Plymouth sailor on Yarmouth Navigator feared drowned

Plymouth search
Image caption Divers searched the area where the vessel sank

Police divers searching for a man feared drowned after a boat sank in Plymouth have recovered a body.

The missing man was on the former Navy launch Yarmouth Navigator when it started taking on water on Sunday while tied up near the Clovelly Bay Marina.

Three other crew members were rescued but coastguards said the chances of finding the missing man were "slim".

Divers recovered a body on Monday afternoon in the area where the vessel sank.

The man was last seen leaving the wheelhouse and was wearing yellow oilskins but no life jacket.

Coastguard Shamus McCaffery said: "We will still endeavour to find this person."

A team of police divers and an RAF search-and-rescue helicopter spent Sunday evening scouring a 1.6 mile (2.5km) stretch of coastline but called off the operation at about 0130 GMT on Monday.

Image caption The Yarmouth Navigator sailed from the River Dart to Plymouth

A spokesman for Brixham Coastguard said: "The divers went down to the sunken vessel last night and found nothing, but the light was failing.

"It would appear the man had gone back into the wheelhouse to retrieve some navigation equipment, when the vessel finally sank."

The vessel was built in Lowestoft in 1943, according to the National Register of Historic Vessels, and served as a general purpose craft.

It had previously been berthed on the River Dart in Devon where the owner had been working on its engine.

Dart Harbour said in a statement: "It gives us great sadness to learn of the tragic circumstances surrounding the fate of the Yarmouth Navigator.

"The news is all the more surprising as it follows a successful passage from Dartmouth to Plymouth Sound by the vessel.

"Clearly our thoughts go out to the friends and family of the missing person at this time."

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