Missing fishermen search called off
A search for two missing fishermen has been called off as rescue teams found their stricken vessel and its liferaft on the sea bed.
Survey ship Odyssey Explorer discovered the wreck of the Purbeck Isle lying 10 miles off Portland, in Dorset, at a depth of 50 metres.
The body of skipper David McFarlane, 35, was found on Friday.
Two more crewman - named locally as Robert Prowse, 23, and Jack Craig, 22 - have not been seen or heard from since leaving Weymouth on their 36ft "potter" boat on Thursday morning. The Purbeck Isle was reported missing shortly after 5.30pm.
Mr McFarlane, from Weymouth, was found dead at sea on Thursday. Desperate efforts to find his two companions continued amid hopes Mr Prowse and Mr Craig could have taken to the liferaft of the boat when they ran into difficulty. But these were dashed when the raft was discovered on board the wreck at 11am on Saturday.
Portland Coastguard's Rescue Co-ordination Centre manager Mark Rodaway said: "After a prolonged and extensive three-day search, sadly, the time has now passed when we could have hoped that the two remaining crew members from the Purbeck Isle would be found alive.
"Our final area of investigation was to search for the missing liferaft in the hope that they had been able to board it before the vessel sank, but sadly this new information means that this search will now be terminated. Our thoughts are with the families of all three crewmen at this difficult time."
Andy Alcock, 59, secretary of the Weymouth and Portland Fisherman and Licensed Boatman Association, described the three men as "popular lads".
"Weymouth is a small place and you can walk around this town on any given day and you can look at any boat and you'd know the names of everybody on that boat and these three lads were no different," he said. "They were very popular and they'd worked on other vessels in the harbour."
Mr Prowse and Mr McFarlane, nicknamed Farley, were both said to have young families who have asked for privacy.
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