Dorset

'No hope' of finding missing Purbeck Isle fishermen alive

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Media captionCoastguards began an extensive search after the vessel was reported missing from Weymouth at about 18:00 BST on Thursday

There is no hope that two fishermen missing off the Dorset coast since Thursday will be found alive, Portland Coastguard have said.

The wreck of their boat, Purbeck Isle, which could not be contacted after it left Weymouth, was found on Saturday with its life-raft still on board.

Searches for crew members Robert Prowse and Jack Craig were later called off.

The body of the crabber's skipper, 34-year-old David McFarlane, was discovered on Friday.

Mark Rodaway, of Portland Coastguard, said the time had passed when there would still have been hope to find the two remaining crew members alive.

Floral tributes to the men and messages of condolence to relatives have been laid at Weymouth Harbour.

Canon Richard Franklin, from the nearby Holy Trinity church, said the whole community was in mourning.

"[The mood is] very sad and sombre," he said.

"There's a strong fellow feeling with those who have been lost and, of course, with their families.

"I think each of the seafarers fear and face similar dangers.

"It's only when something happens like this that it really hits home.

Image caption RNLI lifeboats, the Coastguard helicopter and a Royal Navy warship are searching for the vessel

"We get our food on our plates - and in this case crab - and we don't give a second thought really to the people who go out and get it for us and the dangers that they face.

"This really does bring it home."

An extensive search for the vessel began after it was reported missing from Weymouth at about 18:00 BST on Thursday.

Coastguards worked on the possibility that Mr Prowse and Mr Craig could have taken to the on-board raft.

Using a Remotely Operated Vehicle, survey ship Odyssey Explorer discovered the wreck lying 10 miles off Portland at a depth of 50m.

However, the search was called off when it was confirmed the life-raft was still on board the vessel.

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency said it received no communication from the crew before the boat disappeared.

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