Fears for men missing at sea in freezing conditions

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Grave fears are held for three men missing at sea during a fishing trip off Sorrento, Victoria, since yesterday.

Police are reportedly “very pessimistic” about their chances of survival, due to freezing temperatures over night.

Inspector Rod Cathall of Victoria Police, who is leading the search, said: “We hold grave fears for them.”

Local firefighters Fred Smith, John Taylor, and Bill Smith went on a fishing trip in a fibreglass runabout late yesterday and have not returned, with police mounting a dawn rescue search after being alerted at 4am.

Last night was the coldest August night in the state for 23 years with an air temperature of zero and a water temperature of four degrees Celcius, according to the Victorian Bureau of Meteorology.

“It was the kind of weather that kills people,” said Bureau spokesman Hayden Butler.

The three men were senior members of the local tennis club and are due to play in the tennis finals next Saturday.