Three bodies are found in search for men missing since January

Three bodies are found in search for men missing since their fishing boat failed to return to port in Conwy in January

  • Three bodies have been recovered from coastline off the Wirral and Blackpool 
  • Fishermen  Ross Ballantine, 39, Carl McGrath, 34, and Alan Minard, 20, have not been seen since their boat, the Nicola Faith, vanished in January 
  • North Wales Police have contacted their families about the discovery 

Police searching for missing fishermen who vanished six weeks ago at sea say they have found three bodies.

Ross Ballantine, 39, Carl McGrath, 34, and Alan Minard, 20, have not been seen since searching for whelks in the Irish Sea off the coast of Conwy, North Wales on January 27.

Police say the bodies of three men were recovered from the coastline off the Wirral and Blackpool over the weekend.

The families have been contacted.

Ross Ballantine, 39, is among the three fishermen whose boat disappeared six weeks ago

Fisherman Carl McGrath, 34, was aboard the Nicola Faith which went missing on January 27

Alan Minard, 20, was the youngest member of the Nicola Faith’s crew which vanished in January

North Wales Police are in contact with Merseyside and Lancashire police and awaiting the outcome of the post mortem examinations.

The trio had been aboard the Nicola Faith which failed to return to port in Conwy, North Wales.

A major search was launched with rescue teams from Rhyl, Bangor and Llandudno being joined by five RNLI crews when the boat failed to return.

It was stood down two days after their disappearance when nothing was found.

One of the vessel’s life rafts was found off the coast of south west Scotland earlier this month.

A North Wales Police spokesman said: ‘We are aware that the bodies of three men have been recovered from the coastline off the Wirral and Blackpool over the weekend.

The alarm was raised when the Nicola Faith failed to return to port in Conwy, North Wales.

Five lifeboat crews joined the coastguard in desperate search for a fishing vessel which was supposed to return to shore at Conwy, North Wales

Police assisted with the search of the vessel which left port but did not return overnight 

‘We have been in contact with colleagues from both Merseyside and Lancashire police, and we await the outcome of the Home Office post mortem examinations.

‘The families of the missing crew members from the vessel Nicola Faith have been kept informed, and continue to be supported by specialist officers.’

The families of the missing men had launched a £70,000 fundraising campaign to hire ocean recovery expert David Mearns who found tragic soccer star Emiliano Sala.

The private search for the three men was expected to begin this week.

Nathania Minard, mum of missing Alan Minard, set up the fundraising page because families had so many ‘unanswered questions.’

She said: ‘Closure is critical to enable the families to move forward, remember the good times rather than worry about what happened on that fateful day.’

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