Search continues for missing fishing boat off Dorset coast

RNLI lifeboats are continuing their search for a missing fishing boat The Purbeck Isle and its three-man crew off the coast of Dorset.

A major search ten miles south of Portland resumed at 5am this morning. RNLI lifeboats, coastguard helicopters and a Royal Navy warship have been involved. The fishing boat had gone to check and re-lay crab pots.

Mark Rodaway from Portland Coastguard told The West Country Tonight they're determined to do all they can to find the missing boat and men on board:

The Purbeck Isle, which is from Weymouth, was reported missing just after 17.30 on Thursday 18th May after it failed to return to port at its expected time.

The Purbeck Isle was reported missing just after five thirty on Thursday evening Credit: RNLI

The Coastguard helicopter commenced a search from the air of known fishing grounds of this vessel as soon as we were alerted. We have also searched all evening utilising the skills of the lifeboat crew and the crews of the Navy warships and the electronic search aids at their disposal.

– Cindy Rodaway, Watch Manager, Portland Coastguard

Weymouth all weather lifeboat, the Ernest and Mabel, launched at 7:15pm and is still searching, along with HM Coastguard Helicopters and the Royal Navy Warship, the HMS York.

The Lyme Regis inshore lifeboat, the Spirit of Loch Fyne, launched just after 11pm and is carrying out an additional shoreline search of the coast to the west of Weymouth, along Chesil Beach, towards Bridport.

So far, no communication has been made with the vessel, or any trace found since the fishing vessel was seen by other fishermen leaving port on Thursday morning.

It's not the first time a rescue operation has been launched for The Purbeck Isle Credit: RNLI

It's the third time in little over a year that a rescue operation has been launched for the Purbeck Isle. In January 2011 three people were rescued from the boat off the Dorset coast after the Purbeck Isle started sinking just off Chesil Beach. The Weymouth RNLI lifeboat, a helicopter and 3 fishing vessels helped with the rescue.

Then in June 2011 the skipper of the boat was airlifted to hospital after suffering a serious hand injury at sea.

Dave Farley, was airlifted by the Coastguard rescue helicopter to Dorset County Hospital after reports he had cut off two of his fingers.