Hopes that two fishermen who went missing off Doubtful Sound in Fiordland might have survived are fading after the discovery of parts of an inflatable dinghy and life raft from their boat.
The crayfishing boat K'Cee, carrying skipper Bruce Gordon, 42, and crewman Darren Allen, 37, has not been heard from since 8.15am on Monday and was reported missing on Tuesday morning.
Rescue teams had not found Mr Gordon and Mr Allan by late Wednesday afternoon but they had found several other parts of the boat.
They included two wooden floorboards from the inflatable dinghy, found about 10km north of the coast of Secretary Island, along with a bladder from the inflatable life raft.
The K'Cee's emergency locator beacon was also found. It had minor damage and appeared operational but had not been activated.
"Unfortunately after finding the items from the K'Cee, the search team may now be looking at a less hopeful scenario," a police statement said.
"Tragically as time goes on the outcome is looking less positive and searchers had hoped for a better outcome at this stage."
Also re-spotted was the semi-submerged hull wreckage, which has been towed to Secretary Island and is being examined.
The families of both men said they appreciated the efforts from community members and rescuers and asked for privacy.
"We are still all hoping for a miracle and appreciate all the support and kind thoughts we have received," they said in a statement released by police.