UPDATED: Bembridge RNLI’s All Weather Lifeboat has this morning (Sunday) joined an extensive search and rescue operation off the Dorset coast for an experienced kayaker that went missing during a race yesterday afternoon.
Around 15 kayakers had been taking part in the event, which runs between Knoll Beach and Swanage. However, a call was made to Solent Coastguard at around 13:45 reporting that 1 of the kayakers was missing.
60-year-old Alistair Collier was last seen about half way through the race. Weather conditions as said to have been poor with a fairly rough sea.
HM Coastguard swiftly launched a search of the area involving 2 RNLI lifeboats from Swanage and 2 from Poole, with St Albans Coastguard Rescue Team and Coastguard Rescue helicopter 175 also involved.
With the initial searches proving unsuccessful, Yarmouth RNLI’s Seven-class All Weather Lifeboat (ALB) was called upon to assist in the ongoing search last night. Solent Coastguard requested the launch of the lifeboat at 20:12, just as darkness fell.
Lifeboats from Swanage, Poole, Yarmouth and Weymouth, Coastguard Rescue Teams from Swanage, St Albans and Lulworth and helicopters from Lee-on-Solent, St Athan (Wales) and Newquay have all been involved in the operation overnight.
Now, with search efforts continuing, the volunteer crew of Bembridge RNLI have been tasked to take over from other rescue resources. The Tamar-class lifeboat launched from the boathouse at Lane End at 09:20 and is currently en-route to join Swanage’s ALB in conducting methodical searches.
HM Coastguard have also confirmed that a fixed wing Coastguard aircraft is being utilised.
Duty commander Mark Rodaway OBE from HM Coastguard has said:
“We are continuing to search for this kayaker. There has been no sign of him or his kayak since yesterday afternoon and we’re obviously very concerned for him.
“The search will be extended this morning to other areas to allow for the time that has passed and the possibility that he may have got to safety somewhere else”.
The search is ongoing.
UPDATE @ 18:27 – HM Coastguard have confirmed that the body of a man and his kayak have been recovered from the water this afternoon.
The discovery was made some 22 nautical miles south of Tyneham.