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Cornwall shipwreck Darlwyne 'discovered' 50 years after maritime disaster claimed 31 lives

The Independent logo The Independent 1/08/2016 Will Worley

© Provided by Independent Print Limited Investigators believe they have found the remains of a ship which sunk off the coast of Cornwall in 1966, with the loss of all 31 people on board.

The Darlwyne pleasure boat was overcrowded and in poor condition when it went down in stormy seas off Dodmon Point, east of Falmouth, on the county's south coast.

Now, for the 50-year anniversary of the event, a local BBC team has identified objects believed to be the remains of the Darlwyne.

The investigators believe the original search for the vessel, which was travelling west along the coast from Fowey to Mylor when it encountered weather difficulties, took place too far out to sea.

But the team suspected the Darlwyne’s captain, Brian Michael Bown, would have steered her closer into the shore, to an area known as Dodman Point – or Deadman Point to locals. Their suspicions were correct.

"We know there are many wrecks on that headland that have never been found possibly because it's one of the worst places to dive," said diver Mark Milburn on BBC Inside Out South West.

Leading the investigation was programme producer Jeremy Hibbard, who said: "When we first started looking at this we started to think like local boatmen. We examined all the alleged sightings of the Darlwyne.

"We looked at the wind and storms coming in to the south west, we looked at the currents, we looked at where the bodies were found."

Divers found and anchor and metal work, believed to be from the ballast of the Darlwyne, within 30 minutes of diving near Dodman Point.

It is hoped the find will offer some closure to the surviving relatives of those who drowned. Some bodies of the 23 adults and eight children on board were recovered but even after a lengthily search, the wreckage was never found by the authorities.

Lifeboatman Brian Willis was involved in the recovery operation.

He said: "I used to dream about it, it was so bad. We went miles that day - we were out 12-13 hours and never found a thing. It upset a lot of people, it upset me because I had young children myself."

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