Monday 11 December 2017

Trawler and crew of three missing off the Dorset coast

A FISHING boat and its three-man crew remained missing today, as coastguards continued to search off the Dorset coast.

The Weymouth-based boat, named the Purbeck Isle, has not been seen since leaving port yesterday morning.

Coastguards launched a search last night after it was reported missing at around 6pm.

A spokeswoman for the the Maritime and Coastguard Agency said the fishing boat is 11m long and used as a "potter", to catch possibly lobster or crab using pots.

"The search area is 10 miles off the coast of Portland Bill," she said.

She said searches were being carried out by the coastguard helicopter from Lee-on-Solent, and the Weymouth RNLI lifeboat.

Last night coastguards enlisted the help of Navy warships in the hunt, but the spokeswoman said the search was continuing with the helicopter and lifeboat today.

The three men have been named locally as 37-year-old skipper David McFarland, crewmen Robert Prowse, 23, and Jack Craig, 22.

Secretary of the Weymouth and Portland Fisherman and Licensed Boatman Association Andy Alcock, 59, said they were popular amongst the local community.

"The three lads concerned, Robert, Jack and Dave were very popular lads," he said.

"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, they were very popular and they'd worked on other vessels in the harbour."

Mr Alcock added Mr Prowse and Mr McFarland, nicknamed Farley, had young families who have asked for privacy.

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