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UPDATED: A major search and rescue operation involving 2 helicopters, 2 lifeboats and 2 Coastguard Rescue Teams is underway in the Sandown area this morning (Christmas Eve).

Emergency services were alerted at around 03:00 to reports of a woman entering the water near to Sandown Pier, prompting a full scale response to be launched.

Bembridge RNLI Lifeboat, Sandown & Shanklin Independent Lifeboat, Bembridge Coastguard Rescue Team, Ventnor Coastguard Rescue Team, Coastguard Rescue helicopter 175 from Lee-on-Solent and Rescue 163 from Lydd are all on scene.

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As of yet there have been no sightings of the potential casualty. The search continues.

UPDATE @ 06:35 – As dawn approaches Coastguard officers continue to sweep the beaches between Sandown and Ventnor, whilst Coastguard Rescue 175 and both lifeboats search out to sea.

Coastguard teams are now located on Shanklin Esplanade.

UPDATE @ 08:05 – The search for the woman continues this morning, although Sandown and Shanklin Independent Lifeboat and Coastguard Rescue 175 have now returned to station.

Bembridge RNLI’s All Weather Lifeboat remains off Ventnor and Coastguard Rescue Teams are expected to carry out further searches along the coast.

UPDATE @ 08:47 – Sandown and Shanklin Independent Lifeboat are back out and searching The Bay, as is Coastguard Rescue 175 helicopter. Bembridge RNLI lifeboat has been stood down.

John Keyworth, Lifeboat Operations Manager at Bembridge has said:

“It was a strange start to the Christmas break but this sort of situation is what we are here for.”

The search has been ongoing for more than 5 hours.

Anyone who has any information relating to the sighting should contact the Coastguard on 999.

UPDATE @ 12:00 – The search has now been stood down, with all resources withdrawn.

The area has been saturated but the search has proven inconclusive.

Hampshire Constabulary have been informed of the incident.

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