Search for missing Devon fishermen called off

One man has been rescued after he was found clinging to a lifebuoy - he is now in hospital.

A major search operation for two missing crew members from Devon who were on board a fishing boat that sank off the coast of Sussex on Saturday has been called off.

The search was suspended at 11pm on Saturday evening, but resumed at first light on Sunday November 22.

HM Coastguard has now confirmed that the search was stood down at 3pm on Sunday 22 November, saying "nothing further has been found."

At one point, 14 fishing vessels were assisting the HM Coastguard and RNLI in the search for the two missing men.

Something the coastguard has described as a "testament to the local maritime community."

Credit: Martin Johns/Fishing News

There were three members on board the JOANNA C that is registered to Brixham, Devon.

One man was found by rescue teams clinging on to a lifebuoy.

The HM Coastguard said: "He was located by one of the RNLI lifeboats. He was conscious, he was breathing, he was hyperthermic, he'd obviously been in the sea in cold water so hyperthermia is a big risk.

"He wasn't in a good way but we did manage to get him to shore and pass him over to the hospital."

HM Coastguard was alerted around 6am on Saturday 21 November when the search began.

The fishing vessel JOANNA C is a 45 foot scalloping vessel that underwent a major refurbishment in 2019.

A local fisherman from Brixham said the community is "in shock."

I know the boat very well. The owner has done very extensive work on maintaining it and improving it for the condition for the crew to make it a very safe vessel. So it is a real shock.

Alan Scales

A fundraising campaign has been set up to raise money for those affected.

So far, more than ten thousand pounds has been raised.

Donations will be passed to the Fishermen's Mission, a charity providing practical, emotional and financial support to fishermen and their families, which will distribute it to those affected.

You can donate here.


The MP for for Totnes and South Devon, Anthony Mangnall said: "My thoughts are with the crew of the Joanna C. "The Brixham fishing community is one big family and we are all wishing their swift and safe return."