Concerns after fishing boat goes missing with three crew members off coast of north Wales

Concerns are growing for the welfare of three people onboard a fishing boat which has gone missing off the north Wales coast.

Several lifeboats, a helicopter and a plane began searching for the ten metre fishing vessel on Thursday afternoon after the Coastguard was alerted when it did not return at midnight as expected.

A map shows the number of lifeboats (in blue) searching the sea off the coast of Llandudno Credit: Marine Traffic

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency said it had began coordinating an "extensive search" shortly after 10am on Thursday.

In a statement the Agency said: "The search for a missing fishing vessel with three people on board continues off the coast of North Wales."HM Coastguard has been co-ordinating an extensive search to find the vessel since just after 10am today (28 January) after it failed to return when it was expected. 

Rob Priestley, HM Coastguard duty controller, said: “We are continuing to search a wide area to try and find this vessel with all the assets we have at our disposal.

"We’re also asking other vessels in the area to keep a look out for anything that might also assist the search.”

A statement from the RNLI said, "Rhyl, Bangor and Llandudno Coastguard Rescue Teams have been sent to assist along with five RNLI lifeboats from Rhyl, Llandudno and Conwy."The HM Coastguard search and rescue helicopter from Caernarfon is also on scene assisting with searches."

A HM Coastguard plane was also seen circling the area multiple times on Thursday afternoon. The Beech 200 Super King Air had travelled from Doncaster to assist with the search.

Paul Frost from the RNLI told ITV News that everybody involved in the search is "very concerned".

"Everybody involved in the rescue organisations and the search are very concerned now. It's coming up to nearly 24 hours since the vessel was last seen.

"There's obviously a lot of worry about what could have happened to it, where it's gone. All our thoughts are with the families of the people on board. We will carry on searching until either light stops us or the coastguard calls off the search."

Mr Frost added that the scale of the operation was particularly large and spanned hundreds of square miles.

He said: "We've been searching an area between Puffin Island and Hoylake at the entrance to the River Mersey, up to about 15 miles out.

"It's over hundreds of square miles, normal lifeboat operations are between 15 and 20 miles but the various search units are criss-crossing the whole of the area."