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Last Updated: Wednesday, 30 August 2006, 11:22 GMT 12:22 UK
Ferry examined over yacht deaths
Map
All three bodies were found south east of the Isle of Wight
Police are examining forensic evidence from the hull of a ferry as part of an investigation into the deaths of three sailors in the English Channel.

Officers boarded the Pride of Bilbao in Portsmouth on Tuesday night.

The ship's operator P&O has been helping the government's Marine Accident Investigation Branch and Hampshire Police with their inquiries.

The yacht Ouzo went missing after leaving Bembridge, Isle of Wight, for Dartmouth, Devon, on 20 August.

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 two days later.

No Mayday distress call had been received and the only remnant of their yacht that has been found is a fender.

The three men who died - Jason Downer, Rupert Saunders and James Meaby
Left to right, Jason Downer, Rupert Saunders and James Meaby all died
Coastguards have said the 27ft (8.2m) Sailfish sloop may have been in collision with a larger vessel.

On Tuesday, officers from Hampshire Constabulary used an inflatable boat to examine the cross-channel ferry after passengers had left the ship.

P&O had already given the ferry's data recorder to investigators.

The device - similar to a plane's black box flight recorder - could contain information including the ferry's position and course from the night the yacht went missing.

A Hampshire Police spokeswoman said: "It must be stressed at this time the investigation is looking into all ships in the area on the relevant date."




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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