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Last Updated: Sunday, 23 March 2008, 23:39 GMT
Fisherman feared dead off coast
Coastguard helicopter
A coastguard helicopter was called to help the rescue
The skipper of a Belgian fishing boat is feared dead after disappearing overboard off the Sussex coast.

The captain of the vessel Zilmermeeuw was reported missing by his crew 15 miles south of Newhaven.

Solent Coastguard sent its rescue helicopter with lifeboats from Newhaven and Eastbourne joining the search.

Sussex Police later confirmed that a body had been found but not formally identified. The incident will now be investigated by Belgian police.

Solent Coastguard watch manager, Colin Griffiths said the weather had been "inclement with westerly winds up to 23 knots, poor visibility, rain and sleet".

He added: "We know that the skipper was not wearing a lifejacket or survival suit."

Six fishing and commercial vessels also offered their assistance after a request was broadcast to shipping in the area.



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