Weymouth missing fisherman search called off

 

A search for two missing fishermen was called off today 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 yesterday.

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 on Thursday.

Mr McFarlane, from Weymouth, was found dead at sea yesterday.

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 today.

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 Alcock said local fishermen tried calling the men's mobile phones when they first heard the boat was missing.

"The lads had tried to phone the vessel and got just cut-off lines, all three mobile phones just cut off, which is never a good sign," he said.

"As the evening panned out into darkness it got more and more serious," he added.

"It then became an all-night vigil to try and find the vessel."

Search and rescue teams who continued their hunt this morning hoped the men may have been safe on the liferaft but simply unable to call for help.

But they discovered this was not the case by using a Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) on the Odyssey Explorer which was sent down to the wreck.

Its foray on the seabed revealed the liferaft was still on board the wrecked crabber.

Mr Prowse and Mr McFarlane, nicknamed Farley, were both said to have young families who have asked for privacy.

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

The Purbeck Isle was rescued last January after taking on water off Chesil Beach, west of Portland.

Fred Caygill, a spokesman for the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, said: "It had a problem where it was taking on water. They called for assistance, the lifeboat was launched, a helicopter was scrambled and they were evacuated off the boat and the vessel was taken under tow back here to Weymouth.

"That vessel has undergone a major re-fit and has worked quite steadily since.

"Obviously, we are very keen to get to the bottom of what has happened here."

PA

News
people
News
people
News
peopleStella McCartney apologises over controversial Instagram picture
Life and Style
Laid bare: the Good2Go app ensures people have a chance to make their intentions clear about having sex
techCould Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Burr remains the baker to beat on the Great British Bake Off
tvRichard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
News
i100
Sport
footballArsenal 4 Galatasaray 1: Wenger celebrates 18th anniversary in style
Arts and Entertainment
Amazon has added a cautionary warning to Tom and Jerry cartoons on its streaming service
tv
News
people
News
The village was originally named Llansanffraid-ym-Mechain after the Celtic female Saint Brigit, but the name was changed 150 years ago to Llansantffraid – a decision which suggests the incorrect gender of the saint
newsA Welsh town has changed its name - and a prize if you can notice how
Arts and Entertainment
Kristen Scott Thomas in Electra at the Old Vic
theatreReview: Kristin Scott Thomas is magnificent in a five-star performance of ‘Electra’
News
Destructive discourse: Jewish boys look at anti-Semitic graffiti sprayed on to the walls of the synagogue in March 2006, near Tel Aviv
peopleAt the start of Yom Kippur and with anti-Semitism flourishing, one Jew can no longer ignore his identity
Life and Style
Couples who boast about their relationship have been condemned as the most annoying Facebook users
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Hayley Williams performs with Paramore in New York
musicParamore singer says 'Steal Your Girl' is itself stolen from a New Found Glory hit
News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Associate Recrutiment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: SThree Group have been well ...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + OTE: SThree: Real Staffing Group is seeking Traine...

Year 6 Teacher (interventions)

£120 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: We have an exciting opportunity...

PMLD Teacher

Competitive: Randstad Education Manchester: SEN Teacher urgently required for ...

Day In a Page

Italian couples fake UK divorce scam on an ‘industrial scale’

Welcome to Maidenhead, the divorce capital of... Italy

A look at the the legal tourists who exploited our liberal dissolution rules
Time to stop running: At the start of Yom Kippur and with anti-Semitism flourishing, one Jew can no longer ignore his identity

Time to stop running

At the start of Yom Kippur and with anti-Semitism flourishing, one Jew can no longer ignore his identity
Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

The vintage series has often been criticised for racial stereotyping
An app for the amorous: Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?

An app for the amorous

Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid. Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?

Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid

Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?
Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

After a few early missteps with Chekhov, her acting career has taken her to Hollywood. Next up is a role in the BBC’s gangster drama ‘Peaky Blinders’
She's having a laugh: Britain's female comedians have never had it so good

She's having a laugh

Britain's female comedians have never had it so good, says stand-up Natalie Haynes
Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LED lights designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows

Let there be light

Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LEDs designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows
Great British Bake Off, semi-final, review: Richard remains the baker to beat

Tensions rise in Bake Off's pastry week

Richard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
Paris Fashion Week, spring/summer 2015: Time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris

A look to the future

It's time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris
The 10 best bedspreads

The 10 best bedspreads

Before you up the tog count on your duvet, add an extra layer and a room-changing piece to your bed this autumn
Arsenal vs Galatasaray: Five things we learnt from the Emirates

Arsenal vs Galatasaray

Five things we learnt from the Gunners' Champions League victory at the Emirates
Stuart Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

This deal gives England a head-start to prepare for 2019 World Cup, says Chris Hewett
Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence