TWO fishermen remain missing at sea after their boat sank three miles out.

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

One crew member of the sunken 45ft Brixham-based scalloping vessel Joanna C was rescued by Newhaven RNLI lifeboat that morning.

 Captain of the vessel Dave Bickerstaff, from the town, was airlifted to hospital after being found conscious and clinging to a lifebuoy.

The Argus:

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

Emergency services were joined by fishing vessels in the area responding to radio broadcasts to help scour the sea.

READ MORE: Former boss of fishermen missing at sea near Newhaven speaks

Teams searched the water and coastline until 11pm on Saturday.

They restarted at first light yesterday, but eventually called off the search at 2.30pm.

Despite their efforts, they were unable to find the men who have been named locally as Adam Harper and father Robert Morley.

The Argus:

Missing fishermen Adam Harper and father Robert Morley

Chris Thomas, Deputy Director of HM Coastguard, said: “Sadly the two other crewmen have not yet been found and all our thoughts are with their families and friends.

“It is testament to the local maritime community that HM Coastguard were so admirably supported throughout the day by nearby vessels and the local fishing communities who joined us in force and made strenuous efforts to locate their colleagues during the search.

The Argus:

“At one point, Coastguard coordinators described tracking 14 vessels covering the search plan area including the two RNLI all weather lifeboats at sea.”

Messages of support have poured in for the families of the crewmen and more than £5,000 has been given to help with their support.

The fundraiser called “To provide for the family of the Joanna C” has seen 177 people send donations ranging from £10 to £1,000.

READ MORE: Former boss of fishermen missing at sea near Newhaven speaks

Anthony Mangnall, MP, who represents Totnes and South Devon, where the vessel was based, said: “My thoughts are with the family and friends of the two crew members of the Joanna C. We are today all mourning their loss and we will come together to support them at this time of tragedy.”

Newhaven RNLI thanked people in the town for their support.

A spokesman said: “Thank you everyone in the Newhaven community for your incredible support, on the water, down at the station, feeding the crew.”


A hopeful father 

“COME home to your families, lads”

Those are the words of a hopeful father of a fisherman who is one of two still missing at sea.

Adam Harper and Robert Morley remain missing after two days of searching the coastline and scouring the sea. Mr Harper’s father, Steve Walters, posted a message of hope on his Facebook page, saying it is “time to come home to your families now lads”.

He said: “I would like to send all my love, heart and wishes to Rob’s family. This is a very tearful moment for both families still hoping for two miracles to happen. 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.”

Mr Walters was one of many posting pictures online of candles in a bid for the men to “follow the lights home”.