Two feared dead after sea collision

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TWO Irish fishermen were missing believed drowned after their wooden vessel was sunk in a collision with a French trawler early yesterday, writes Alan Murdoch.

An RAF Sea King rescue helicopter involved in the rescue also ditched at the scene of the accident, 65 miles south-west of Milford Haven. Two of the helicopter's crew of four were winched aboard an Irish rescue helicopter, the others were picked up by the Royal Navy frigate HMS Cumberland. Aviation sources put the lost aircraft's value at pounds 8 to pounds 11m.

The trawler accident happened at a busy prawn fishing ground. One of the three crew of the Irish vessel, the Orchadee, from Dunmore East, was rescued by the 260-tonne Agena soon after the two collided. Ken Pearce, 23, from Bridgetown, Co Wexford was later flown to hospital in Waterford.

The two missing men were named as the boat's skipper, Jimmy 'Butler' Power, 28, a married man with two children, from Dunmore East, Co Waterford, and Bobby Doran, 19, of Kilmore Quay, Co Wexford.