Hopes fade for four crew

HOPES of finding the four man crew of a missing Belgian trawler were starting to fade today.
The search was suspended early this morning but is likely to be resumed later. However, the rescue services in the English Channel where the fishing boat was reported missing said the chances of rescue were now looking slim.
The Belgian registered boat has a Dutch skipper and a Belgian and Portuguese crew. It went missing around lunchtime on Wednesday in what were described as ‘very challenging’ conditions, after radio communications were lost.
A coastguard rescue helicopter was searching an area in the south-east of the English Channel, along with two all-weather lifeboats and a French search and rescue helicopter.
‘The coastguard has notified other vessels in the surrounding area to remain vigilant and contact them if they locate anything,’ a spokesman for the Maritime and Coastguard Agency said.
The 40 metre-long trawler, as yet unnamed, was last reported at a location approximately 10 miles from Dungeness on the Kent coast.
‘It is a very large search area,’ said RNLI spokesman Tim Ash. ‘The two lifeboats are operating eight miles apart. With no sightings, one does fear the worst.’
The coastguard has warned that ‘weather conditions on scene are very challenging, with rough seas and gale force winds’.