UPDATED : Search called-off after men jump overboard from ferry

Harwich and Manningtree Standard: Search launched after men fall overboard from ferry Search launched after men fall overboard from ferry

A SEARCH has been called-off after two men jumped overboard from a Stena ferry off Harwich.

Three RNLI lifeboats, an RAF helicopter and pilot boats were involved in the search which began at around 10am.

It is thought the men were on the Stena Brittanica, which was on the way to the Hook of Holland at the time.

A statement from the Maritime and Coastguard Agency said: "A thorough search of the area has been carried out but nothing found. 

"Unless new information comes to light, search and rescue units have now been stood down."

The search was called-off shortly after 1.30pm.

Stena Line confirmed the men were part of a group who had been refused entry to the UK by the Border Agency and were on their way back to the Netherlands.

A spokesman said: “Stena Line can confirm that the two missing passengers were part of a group that had been refused entry to the UK by the UK Borders Agency and were on their way back to the Netherlands but cannot comment further on their identity, as this is an issue for the UK and Dutch immigration authorities.

“The Stena Britannica arrived in the Hook of Holland yesterday evening and a thorough search of the vessel was conducted but the two missing passengers were not found.

"The two passengers are believed to have jumped overboard at approximately 9.45am yesterday.

"The Stena Britannica worked closely with the Thames Coastguard, which was leading the intensive search and rescue operation to locate the two passengers, and was released at 12.20 to resume its crossing to Holland.

"The search operation was stood down at 13:30 by the Thames Coastguard after no one had been found."

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