Coastguards co-ordinated the search for a missing man after he went overboard from a fishing vessel on Monday morning, but the rescue effort was called off late in the afternoon.
The fishing vessel issued a mayday at approximately 7am reporting that they had a man overboard 20 miles northwest of Orkney.
The coastguard search and rescue helicopters based at Sumburgh and Stornoway, together with the boat, Apollo, searched the area in what UK Coastguard commander Tris Newey called “very rough weather and challenging conditions”.
By 4.30pm the coastguard issued a statement to say the search had been completed, even though the missing man had not been located.
The statement said that the “cumulative and extensive search operation” had involved the two UK Coastguard search and rescue helicopters and two military aircraft, a French Dassault Falcon and a US P8 Poseidon fixed wing aircraft, which were operating in the area in a joint military exercise.
The statement added: “After talking to the crew of the fishing vessel, and with their agreement, the UK Coastguard ended the search for the missing man.
UK Coastguard duty controller Angus MacIver said: “Despite an intensive air and sea search involving the fishing vessel and aircraft rescue resources from Scotland and international military agencies, the missing man has not been located. The fishing vessel is returning to harbour and our deepest sympathies are with the family and remaining crew.”