Body found off Wirral coastline confirmed as missing fisherman Ross Ballantine

A BODY found off the Wirral coastline on Friday, March 12, is that of Ross Ballantine, police have confirmed.

The 39-year-old was reported missing, along with two other fishermen, in January.

The family have been informed and are being supported by specially trained officers.

The news comes 24 hours after a body found on a beach in Blackpool on March 13 was confirmed as being the skipper Carl McGrath.

Mr McGrath, 34, Mr Ballantine and Alan Minard went missing off the coast of Conwy on January 27.

North Wales Police said this evening: “We can confirm that the body found at West Kirby on Friday 12th March is that of Ross Ballantine, who went missing along with two others on the Conwy fishing boat ‘Nicola Faith’ in January.

“The family have been informed and are being supported by specially trained officers.”

The statement added: “The family would like to thank the local community and businesses for their tremendous support and donations.

“The thoughts of everyone at North Wales Police remains with the families and friends of the three fishermen.”

A huge search-operation was carried out on January 28 and 29 but the vessel, nor its crew, were found.

The bodies of three men were recovered from the coastline off the Wirral and Blackpool over the weekend of March 13-14.

North Wales Police said it had informed the families and was awaiting the outcome of the Home Office post-mortem examinations.

A private search for the missing fishing boat ‘Nicola Faith’ is currently underway.

Oceanographer David Mearns, an American marine scientist and expert in deep water recovery, is leading the search which began on Saturday at 6am.

Mr Mearns, who helped the recovery of the plane carrying Cardiff City footballer Emiliano Sala, is providing additional expertise to the investigation being carried out by the Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB).

The UK Government agency has searched more than 30 square miles of seabed using specialist equipment and has shared its information with Mr Mearns.

North Wales Chronicle | Anglesey