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Last Updated: Wednesday, 23 August 2006, 20:27 GMT 21:27 UK
Three bodies recovered from sea
A Sailfish 25 / Patrick Woodward
The missing yacht 'Ouzo' was a Sailfish 25 similar to this one
Three bodies have now been recovered in the search for a yacht and its three crew in the English Channel.

The third body was found by the coastguard at 1930 BST on Wednesday, one hour after a second body was found.

On Tuesday the body of James Meaby, 36, of Tooting, London, was found 10 miles off Nab Tower, near the Isle of Wight.

A massive sea search of the area has failed to find their missing yacht Ouzo, which left Bembridge on the Isle of Wight on Sunday bound for Dartmouth.

Norman Smee, Coastguard Area Operations Manager, said: "We are continuing to work closely with the police on this incident and we cannot confirm at this time that the bodies found this evening belong to the missing yacht 'Ouzo'."

Experienced sailors

Two friends - Rupert Saunders, 36, of Louisville Road, Tooting, and another man - were on board the yacht with Mr Meaby when it went missing.

An RAF Nimrod aircraft, the minesweeper HMS Cattistock and coastguards searched an area from south of the Isle of Wight, where Mr Meaby's body was found on Tuesday, to the French coast.

IOW map
James Meaby's body was found 10 miles south of the Nab Tower

Three land-based teams, the Yarmouth RNLI lifeboat and the police marine unit also searched the coastline between The Needles and Bembridge and both the Solent and Portland Coastguard helicopters took part in the operation.

The two bodies, which have not yet been identified, were located five miles south of St Catherine's Point on the Isle of Wight, and 10 miles west of where Mr Meaby's body was recovered.

The crew members were all thought to be experienced sailors and no Mayday or distress call was received from the Ouzo - a 27ft (8.2m), single-mast vessel.

Coastguards said the boat may have been involved in a mid-channel collision.

Police inquiry

The bodies were taken by the Yarmouth lifeboat to Portsmouth and the search has now finished.

Hampshire Police have launched an inquiry because no mayday distress signal was heard.

Barry Handley, who runs a charter vessel out of Chichester Harbour, found Mr Meaby's body during a fishing trip.

He said: "It [the body] was drifting on the flood tide.

"I would imagine, from the distance it had travelled, that it had probably come from the main shipping lanes in mid-channel."




SEE ALSO
Sailor's body found by fishermen
22 Aug 06 |  Hampshire

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