South West Wales

Search called off after fishing boat sinks off Pembrokeshire

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Media captionFisherman Vivian Davies describes how locals tried to help when the boat got into trouble

A major search for the crew of a fishing boat which has sunk off the coast of Pembrokeshire has been called off until first light.

Coastguards received a 999 call from a member of the public just before 14:30 BST, saying the boat was in difficulty near rocks at St David's Head.

It is thought two local fishermen were on board when it sank.

Five lifeboats and a Rescue 187 coastguard helicopter were called off the search at 22:00 BST on Thursday.

It is due to resume on Friday morning.

Jim Phillips, from the RNLI in St Davids, said a member of the public on the coastal path saw the boat smashed on a rock with two people - thought to be local fishermen - in the water at about 14:40 BST.

The vessel - believed to be "The Harvester" which operated from Milford Haven - was about a mile out to sea near Abereiddi.

He said by the time rescuers got to the scene it had sunk and all that was left on the water's surface was debris.

"We know there were two people on board this boat but unfortunately there's been no sign of them since," Mr Phillips added.

Image caption Police are at the scene

The RNLI said conditions at sea were rough.

A spokesman for St David's Head Lifeboat Station said the search on Thursday was "intensive".

"In that area where there are rocks under the surface, they wouldn't have been fishing, so we are not sure what they were doing there," he said.

"We're trying to plot the tides to try and see where they could have got washed into a cove or washed to shore."

Dyfed-Powys Police said the families of the two missing men were being supported by officers and have appealed for any witnesses to come forward.

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Image caption Part of the flight path of the Rescue 187 helicopter off the Pembrokeshire coast