A MAN from Blackburn has died after the boat he was on sank off the coast of Fleetwood this morning.

A major search operation was launched at 8am to locate the man, who is in his thirties, but his body was found in the water by the RNLI.

Police say two men, one aged 71 and from Accrington and the other aged 70 from Blackburn, who were also on the boat survived the ordeal.

They were taken to hospital as a precaution, suffering from shock and the effects of the cold water.

Police have confirmed that the man’s death is not being treated as suspicious and a file will be prepared for the coroner.

A police spokesman said: “While he has not been formally identified the deceased is believed to be a man in his 30s from Blackburn.

“His next of kin are being informed and our thoughts are with his loved ones at this time.”

The boat involved was thought to have been a decommissioned fishing vessel.

Fleetwood RNLI confirmed they were asked to launch a lifeboat by the coast guards, in response to an urgent call from a small fishing boat, with three people on board, off the coast, near Rossall Point.

A spokesman said: "The all-weather Shannon class lifeboat 13-07 and the in-shore D class lifeboat were both launched and arrived on scene to find the support vessel Eden Rose, from the local wind farm, had picked up two of the fishermen, whilst the third was still missing. The fishing vessel was submerged.

"After returning to Fleetwood with the two casualties, the Shannon class lifeboat returned to the scene to help search for the missing fisherman. Both lifeboats were joined in the search by HM Coastguard helicopter and the Eden Rose."

Blackburn with Darwen leisure and culture boss Cllr Damian Talbot said: "This news is heartbreaking and my thoughts are with the man's family and friends at this time."