UPDATE: Bodies found this morning are men missing since boat collision

Mircea Ilie, 40, of Elm Grove, Brighton (left) and Irinel Popovici, 41, of Barcombe Road, Brighton (right). Picture: Sussex Police
Mircea Ilie, 40, of Elm Grove, Brighton (left) and Irinel Popovici, 41, of Barcombe Road, Brighton (right). Picture: Sussex Police

Two bodies spotted in the water early this morning have been identified as those of two men missing since a boat collision earlier this month.

The first body was spotted by a fisherman about 2.5 miles off Shoreham Harbour around 7am.

The RNLI Shoreham lifeboat was launched to recover the body and as they were returning to shore a second body was spotted in the water just before 8am, according to police.

Both bodies were landed at Brighton Marina where they were handed to the coroner’s officer.

After their families were informed, the men have been formally identified.

They are Mircea Ilie, 40, of Elm Grove, Brighton (left) and Irinel Popovici, 41, of Barcombe Road, Brighton (right).

Police and marine accident investigators have named the boat believed to have collided with the boat that the men were fishing from off Shoreham in the early hours of Sunday, August 6.

The vessel, the scallop dredging boat, Vertrouwen, left Shoreham around the time of the incident bound for Grimsby. Police are in touch with the owners, MacDuff Shellfish Ltd, who are co-operating fully with the investigation.

A small boat had left Shoreham Harbour around midnight with four pleasure fisherman on board.

It is now known that the collision occurred around 12.30am and the boat was lost without raising a distress call.

One man was rescued by commercial fisherman after clinging to a buoy for more than five hours and another man’s body was recovered by an HM Coastguard helicopter later that morning.