THE coxswain of Exmouth RNLI lifeboat crew has spoken about their four-hour search for a missing fisherman and the moment they found his body.
The six-man crew joined in the search for the skipper of the 19ft fishing vessel the JCK at about 8pm on Monday, January 28.
Teignmouth and Torbay RNLI lifeboat crews initiated the search an hour before, alongside two Royal Navy frigates, a tug, coastguard rescue teams and rescue helicopters from RNAS Culdrose and Portland Coastguard.
The fisherman had set out in the morning and the alarm was raised when he didn't return. He was last seen travelling past Thatcher Rock near Torquay at 6.25pm.
Battling gale force winds, the Exmouth crew spotted the fisherman's body floating in the water off Teignmouth just before midnight. The Teignmouth crew recovered his body and took him to shore.
The fisherman is understood to come from the Torbay area. "Because of the size of the search area we went out too," explained Tim Mock, coxswain of the Exmouth RNLI crew. "We knew the chances of finding a floating broken-down vessel were unlikely so we knew we could have been looking for a partially sunken vessel, hopefully with someone still on board." He added: "It wasn't a good outcome, but if someone has lost their life the best thing is to able to find their body for the family."