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Fishing boat crew search suspended

A major air-sea search in the Channel for a fishing boat with four crew members on board has been suspended with nothing found, the Coastguard said.

Lifeboat and helicopter crews were stood down early this morning following a thorough search for the vessel which vanished in rough seas and gale-force winds.

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) said the fishing crew members were non-UK nationals but was unable to disclose further details about their boat.

Dutch and Belgian fishing boats have "saturated" the area where the vessel apparently went missing in the hope of finding some trace.

But the MCA said efforts involving British lifeboats and helicopter crews have been suspended following a detailed search and amid forecasts of more bad weather.

A Coastguard Rescue helicopter searched an area in the south-east of the Channel, while two all-weather lifeboats from Dungeness and Dover were also deployed in the area.

A French search and rescue helicopter was also drafted in to support the search effort for the vessel which had been fishing in the Dover Strait, the MCA said.

The Coastguard notified other vessels in the area to be vigilant. It warned that "weather conditions on scene are very challenging, with rough seas and gale force winds".

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