Lifeboat crews faced gale force winds during search for missing man near Beer

Exmouth RNLI lifeboat. Picture: John Thorogood/Exmouth RNLI

Exmouth RNLI lifeboat. Picture: John Thorogood/Exmouth RNLI - Credit: John Thorogood

Lifeboats faced near gale force winds during a search for a missing man in the Beer area.

Exmouth RNLI lifeboat. Picture: John Thorogood/Exmouth RNLI

Exmouth RNLI lifeboat. Picture: John Thorogood/Exmouth RNLI - Credit: John Thorogood/Exmouth RNLI

HM Coastguard requested the help Sidmouth Lifeboat, Lyme Regis Lifeboat and Exmouth RNLI at around 10.25pm on Tuesday, September 24.

SINCE THE PUBLICATION OF THIS REPORT A BODY HAS BEEN FOUND IN SEATON. CLICK HERE FOR MORE.

A comprehensive search alongside Sidmouth Independent Lifeboat, Lyme Regis Lifeboat, and the Coastguard Search and Rescue helicopter was carried out in the area.

Lyme RNLI and Sidmouth Lifeboat were stood down after facing difficult headway against the weather, while Exmouth's all-weather lifeboat R and J Welburn continued the search until 2.30am on Wednesday, September 25. Nothing was found during the search.

The volunteer lifeboat crew was led by Exmouth RNLI Coxswain Steve Hockings-Thompson, who said: 'This was a very long and difficult search at night in very extreme conditions, poor visibility, heavy rain and a treacherous sea.


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"I'm grateful to our crew who conducted themselves very professionally and to our colleagues from Sidmouth Independent Lifeboat, Lyme Regis Lifeboat and HM Coastguard for their invaluable assistance throughout."

When the crew arrived back at the beach and tried to load the boat back onto the trailer, to take it back to the station, the winch wire became snagged.

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Due to those extreme conditions, worsening weather and sea state, a decision was made on the grounds of safety to leave the boat behind until it could be recovered at lunchtime on Wednesday, September 25.

A Sidmouth Lifeboat spokesman said: "Exmouth RNLI was stood down in the early hours of this morning. Sidmouth Lifeboat was tasked this morning to assist with the ongoing search, but as this is an ongoing sensitive enquiry regarding a high risk missing person, we are unable to comment further."

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