FAMILY members have expressed messages of hope as the three men on board a sunken fishing vessel were named locally.

Joanna C sunk off the coast of Newhaven at about 6am yesterday morning with three crew members on board. Two are still missing.

The men have now been named locally as Dave Bickerstaff, Adam Harper and Robert Morley.

Mr Bickerstaff was reportedly found clinging to a lifebuoy by Newhaven RNLI yesterday morning and has now been taken to hospital.

The Argus:

Bickerstaff Fishing, a fresh fish retailers and wholesalers in Newhaven, has shared a picture of a candle online.

Mr Harper and Mr Morley are still missing at sea and rescue teams are scouring the sea and shore for the second day.

Mr Harper's father, Steve Walters, has posted a hopeful message on his Facebook page, saying it is “time come to home to your families now lads”.

He said: “I would like to send all my love, heart an wishes to Rob’s family.

“This is a very tearful moment for both families still hoping for two miracles to happen.

The Argus:

Adam Harper 

“It is time to come home to your families now lads.

“If anybody knows of Rob’s family, can you share this to them for me?

“Much love to everyone and stay safe lads for those at sea.”

HM Coastguard scrambled a search and rescue helicopter after receiving a distress beacon from a fishing vessel near Newhaven at 6am yesterday.

The Argus:

The 45ft scalloping vessel Joanna C sent out an emergency alarm at about 6am yesterday morning.

Mr Bickerstaff was found conscious in the sea and was taken to hospital in a helicopter. He reportedly survived in an air pocket after the boat turned over.

The boat is a 45ft scalloping vessel registered in Brixham, the Coastguard said.

Teams scoured the sea until 11pm last night with the search resuming at first light this morning.