1. ITV Report

Fears grow for missing men after one dies in boat sinking in English Channel

  • Video report by ITV News Correspondent Richard Pallot

One man has died and fears are growing for two others after a boat sank in the English Channel.

A major search operation involving up to 15 boats and ships, aided by two coastguard helicopters, was launched on Sunday morning after the vessel went down off Shoreham with four people on board.

The vessel left Shoreham harbour just after midnight on Sunday for a leisure fishing trip and "was apparently struck by a larger vessel" around two hours later, Sussex Police said.

The alarm was raised when a 45-year-old man Romanian national from London was found clinging to a buoy by fishermen two miles off-shore shortly after 6am.

Sussex Police said the body of a man was recovered from the sea by a coastguard helicopter at around 8.15am.

Emergency services at the scene by the Shoreham coast. Credit: Twitter / @OBDroning

Beaches between Brighton and Worthing were being searched for the two men who remain accounted for. It was suspended early on Sunday afternoon before being resumed later in the day.

The four men on board the boat were all Romanian, two living in London and two in Brighton, police said.

Matt Pavitt, Coastal Operations Area Commander for the south-east of England, said that as time went on it would become increasingly unlikely that the men would be found alive.

"Unfortunately as time goes on, the sea temperature, and the fact this happened very, very quickly would diminish their time of survival," he said.

Speaking before the search resumed, coastguard controller Andy Jenkins said: "Following an extensive search of the area using multiple assets nothing further has been found at this time so the decision has been made to suspend the search pending further information.

"A review of the incident details will be ongoing through the rest of the day."

Detective Chief Inspector Rachel Carr said: "We are now trying to establish the circumstances and to identify the other vessel involved.

"An earlier appeal for information prompted a significant number of calls and I would like to thank people for their prompt responses, which enabled us to quickly identify who had been involved.

"Our thoughts are with the families and friends of all those who have been involved in this tragic incident."

The body of the man was recovered from the sea by a coastguard helicopter. Credit: Twitter / @OBDroning