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Last Updated: Tuesday, 29 August 2006, 13:32 GMT 14:32 UK
Ferry examined over yacht deaths
The three men who died - Jason Downer, Rupert Saunders and James Meaby
Left to right, Jason Downer, Rupert Saunders and James Meaby all died
Detectives will examine a ferry as part of their investigation into the disappearance of a yacht in the English Channel with the loss of three lives.

Ferry operator P&O has confirmed it is helping the government's Marine Accident Investigation Branch and Hampshire Police with its inquiries.

The missing yacht Ouzo left Bembridge, on the Isle of Wight, a week ago.

Police were due to board Pride of Bilbao for examination after it docked in Portsmouth on Tuesday.

No Mayday signal

A Hampshire police spokeswoman said scene of crime officers will use a launch to examine the hull of the ship for damage once it has docked

P&O have already given the data recorder from the 2,500 passenger ship to investigators.

Pride of Bilbao / P&O
Portsmouth-registered Pride of Bilbao takes passengers to Spain

In a statement, P&O said: "Following a request from the Marine Accident Investigation Branch last week, P&O Ferries supplied information from the black box voyage data recorder of its ferry the Pride of Bilbao.

"We are co-operating fully with the MAIB. As the investigation is at a very early stage we believe it inappropriate to comment further at this point."

The bodies of Jason Downer, 35, of Broadstairs, Kent, Rupert Saunders, 36 and James Meaby, 36, both of Tooting, London, were found in the sea off the south east coast of the Isle of Wight.

Mystery surrounds why the 27ft (8.2m) yacht and its crew, who were headed for Dartmouth in Devon, foundered at sea.

No Mayday distress signal was received prompting the police investigation.




SEE ALSO
Three bodies recovered from sea
23 Aug 06 |  Hampshire
Sailor's body found by fishermen
22 Aug 06 |  Hampshire

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