Following the discovery of the liferaft still on board the wreck of the ‘Purbeck Isle’ the Coastguard coordinated search for the two remaining crew members from the vessel has now been stood down.
The search for the vessel, which was reported missing at 17.39 on Thursday, had continued this morning, with Exmouth RNLI Lifeboat covering a large search area in Lyme Bay. At this stage, Coastguards were still working on the possibility that the remaining two missing crew members could have taken to the on board liferaft, but would not have had the ability to call for help.
At 11.00 this morning, the Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) on board the survey vessel ‘Odyssey Explorer’ was able to enter an area of the wreck of the ‘Purbeck Isle’ and locate the liferaft, thereby confirming that it had not been deployed.
Dorset Police now have primacy for this incident, and together with the Marine Accident Investigation Branch will continue to investigate.
Portland Coastguard Rescue Coordination Centre Manager Mark Rodaway said:
“After a prolonged and extensive three day search, sadly, the time has now passed when we could have hoped that the two remaining crew members from the ‘Purbeck Isle’ would be found alive. Our final area of investigation was to search for the missing liferaft in the hope that they had been able to board it before the vessel sank, but sadly this new information means that this search will now be terminated. Our thoughts are with the families of all three crewmen at this difficult time.”