‘Tragic’ end to RNLI search for swimmer near Chichester

Hayling Island's D-Class lifeboat
Hayling Island's D-Class lifeboat

THE crew of a lifeboat deployed to find a missing man off the coast of Chichester have said the discovery of a body was a ‘tragic end’ to their search.

As reported earlier this week, Hayling Island’s RNLI lifeboat, along with Selsey’s, searched for a missing Asian swimmer on Monday (September 2).

A young Asian man, together with two friends, was enjoying the fine weather and went into the sea at West Wittering.

The man, who an RNLI spokesman said was believed to be a non-swimmer, went missing and the lifeboats were called to search for him.

Hayling Island’s volunteer crew searched for three hours on Monday night with assistance from the Coastguard Helicopter.

“The crew re-assembled on Tuesday morning at first light and continued the search which by now had covered the shore from Hayling to Selsey and within Chichester Harbour, but sadly no-one was found,” said a lifeboat spokesman.

On Wednesday (September 4) a body was discovered by a kayaker on the sandbanks at the west end of the West Wittering beach and the Hayling Lifeboat was launched to assist and to bring the casualty ashore.

Jonathan Bradbury, lifeboat operations manager said: “It is a very sad end to an intense search and shows how even on a fine, calm day, in shallow water events can quickly become very serious indeed.

“The crew showed great professionalism care and dignity and both Hampshire and Sussex police have thanked them for their role in this incident.”