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MAJOR SOLENT SEARCH AFTER EQUIPMENT FOUND

UPDATED: The Maritime and Coastguard Agency are appealing for information as a major search and rescue operation continues on both sides of the Solent this afternoon (Saturday) following the discovery of various pieces of equipment.

Coastguard Rescue Teams from Bembridge, Ventnor and Newport, as well as RNLI lifeboats from Cowes and Bembridge are all involved in the ongoing search both on and off the sea.

The operation was prompted earlier today after some equipment – possibly used by kayakers – was found at sea and along the shore. The items, which were discovered between Gosport and Cowes, include a glove, a trainer, a man over board strobe light and torches.

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Solent Coastguard say a number of kayakers were reported as out fishing last night, although no one has been reported as missing.

Coastguard Rescue Helicopter 104, Hillhead Coastguard Rescue Team, MOD Police boat ‘Loyalty’, Portsmouth RNLI lifeboat and Gosport Independent Lifeboat are also involved in the search.

Members of the public who may have further information about the kayakers who were out fishing overnight or the equipment that has been found are requested to call the Coastguard on 02392 552 100 as a matter of urgency.

UPDATE @ 13:37 – Coastguard Rescue 104 helicopter and several lifeboats have now been stood down following a thorough search.

At this time no persons or further cause for concern have been found.

It has come to light that the search was initially sparked at 06:30 this morning when a crew member on board a Wightlink car ferry spotted a torch in the water. After launching to investigate, Gosport & Fareham Inshore Rescue Service (GAFIRS) discovered a second torch but with no further cause for concern, they returned to base.

A short while later, a member of the public found further items washed ashore in Gosport prompting the larger search.

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