Devastated friends pay tribute to Great Yarmouth men feared lost at sea in Lowestoft speedboat tragedy

Friends of two men feared dead after a speedboat capsized off the coast at Lowestoft have paid tribute to a 'great friend' and a 'real character'.

The men, both from Great Yarmouth, have been named locally as Andy Porter and Malcolm Sayer and were reported missing in the wake of the tragedy on Monday, in which one man is confirmed to have died.

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Peter Chambers, 43, from Wellesley Road, Great Yarmouth, was pronounced dead about half an hour after his body was recovered from the water near Lowestoft's Ness Point. He is believed to have been wearing a buoyancy aid rather than a life jacket, and police have not yet been able to trace his next of kin.

Enquiries to find Mr Porter and Mr Sayer are ongoing but rescuers fear the worst after the search operation was called off on Tuesday afternoon, with no further plans to search again. Both men were regular customers at the Theatre Tavern in Great Yarmouth, and staff and fellow drinkers have been left devastated by their loss.

Bar manager Tina Lacey and regular patron Gary Mackenzie were both close friends of Mr Porter – who is believed to have owned the blue and white speedboat – and had been with him on Sunday evening. They said he had been out earlier on Sunday to drop fishing lines and was planning to head back out on Monday to check them.

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Mr Mackenzie, 48, from Trafalgar Road, Great Yarmouth, said Mr Porter had asked him if he wanted to come along on Monday, but he had been too busy to join the fishing party. Alarm bells started to ring when he could not get hold of Mr Porter later that afternoon.

'I tried to ring him several times and his phone was off and I thought 'this is strange, his phone's never off',' Mr Mackenzie said. 'Then his partner walked in and said there's been an accident with three people on board and straight away I put two and two together.'

Miss Lacey, 47, added: 'I hadn't seen him and I came in for my shift at 3pm and he wasn't in here, which shocked me as I see him every day.

'Then his girlfriend came in and said he hadn't come home and there'd been a boat accident. I just knew then. It's horrible, I have been so upset.'

Friends at the pub said Mr Porter, aged in his 40s, had a 'heart of gold' and described Mr Sayer, aged in his 70s, as a 'lovely old boy'.

Police have been examining CCTV footage covering Gorleston harbour, from where the boat launched. The 18ft boat, which was recovered from the water on Monday night, has been examined and the investigation to determine what happened is ongoing.

Two possible theories have emerged as to why the boat capsized – it struck an object or fishing lines became entangled in its propellers causing it to flip – and police said they had taken calls from people who reportedly saw the vessel in rough seas between Gorleston and Lowestoft.

Anyone who may have knowledge of Mr Chambers' family members is asked to contact Steve Bignell, coroners' officer, on 01986 835167.

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