Sussex

Shoreham boat sinking: One dead and two people missing

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Media captionLifeboat crews and the coastguard carried out searches along the West Sussex coast

One man has died and another two are believed missing after a boat sank off the West Sussex coast.

A 45-year-old man from London was rescued at about 05:50 BST after the vessel went down two miles off the coast of Shoreham, the RNLI said.

The rescued man, who said he was part of a crew of four, was found clinging to a buoy and saved by a passing fisherman.

The coastguard later suspended its search for the two missing people.

Andy Jenkins, controller with the UK Coastguard, said: "Following an extensive search of the area using multiple assets nothing further has been found at this time so the decision has been made to suspend the search pending further information.

"A review of the incident details will be ongoing through the rest of the day."

Image copyright Eddie Mitchell
Image caption Lifeboat crews carried out searches along the West Sussex coast

The rescued man, who is originally from Romania, was picked up by an RNLI lifeboat and taken to shore at Shoreham before being taken to hospital.

Matt Pavitt, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency's south east coastal operations area commander, said: "Anybody that spends that length of time, numerous hours potentially, in the sea without any protective equipment - at this time of year it's a nice day but the sea is still cold - is very, very lucky to be alive."

Mr Pavitt said it would look into suggestions the men's boat collided with another vessel, but said it was too early to confirm what happened.

He said that whatever happened had been very quick, as "there was no distress call, no-one raised the alarm until the chap was found this morning".

BBC South East reporter Simon Jones said there had been some communication difficulties between the rescued man and emergency crews but he told them there had been three other men in boat.

A search of the area started and a man's body was recovered from the sea at about 08:15. It was brought ashore by a coastguard helicopter.

Image copyright Eddie Mitchell
Image caption RNLI lifeboats from Shoreham and Brighton are involved in the search for the missing crew members

Boats and ships in the area were asked to look out for the two men who could be missing from the boat.

Up to 15 boats and ships, helped by two coastguard helicopters from Lydd and Lee-on-Solent, were involved in the search for the two missing men before it was suspended.

They included about 10 vessels from the nearby Rampion offshore wind farm.

Image copyright Eddie Mitchell
Image caption One man's body was recovered from the sea and brought to shore

Sussex Police said they believed the men onboard, all thought to be Romanian, left Brighton Marina at about midnight on a fishing trip and the boat may have sunk "a couple of hours later, but the facts are not clear at this time".

The men are thought to have gone out to sea on a fishing trip.

The Marine Accident Investigation Branch is examining what happened.

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