The search for two missing fisherman has been called off for the day. Their boat capsized in the English Channel. The Belgium-flagged vessel overturned at around 23:00 GMT on Tuesday, off the Kent coast.
One survivor was rescued nine hours later, clinging to the hull of the overturned boat. Two helicopters and three lifeboats have been searching for the missing fishermen. One helicopter was from Belgium’s search and rescue operation.
The operation has been called off for the day due to fading light.
Kaimes Beasley, of Dover Coastguard, said, “One person was found on the upturned hull and rescued but we understand there were other crew on board. We are currently searching for these missing crew with a number of search units.
“Weather conditions overnight were relatively benign, winds were not terribly strong and the sea had been calm.
“Either way, it is still the North Sea in the winter and would have been very cold. In the southern North Sea, water temperature is about 9.5C and the air temperature less than that.
“There is a significant risk in terms of hypothermia.”
The upturned vessel was spotted by a passing boat who alerted the emergency services. The crew member standing on the vessel managed to tell them that two of his crewmates were unaccounted for. He was airlifted to the William Harvey hospital in Ashford.
Lifeboat crews were joined by two divers and a doctor from Belgium as the search commenced, concentrating on the North Foreland area of the North Sea. John Ray, a spokesman for Ramsgate Lifeboat station said: “There was a crew of three onboard the vessel. Only one has so far been rescued.
“Both of Ramsgate’s lifeboats are out there, the helicopter is back on the scene and they’re conducting a box search, which moves out further and further.”
The search for the two fishermen will continue tomorrow.