Missing kayaker found dead off Essex coast


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The Independent Online

A man who sparked an overnight search after going out in a kayak has been found dead, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency said.

The body of the 59-year-old, from Burnham-on-Crouch, Essex, who has not yet been named, was found by a walker on the coast at Bradwell, an MCA spokesman said.

Thames Coastguard was contacted at 3am by Essex Police, who had received a call from the kayaker's partner, reporting that he was overdue after going out kayaking between 2pm and 4pm yesterday.

Authorities launched a search of the area, including a hunt for his vehicle in order to locate the starting point of his trip.

Thames Coastguard watch manager Aimee Rampton said: "HM Coastguard recommends that you don't go out on your own in a small craft like a kayak.

"Secondly, it is vital that you give full details to a shore contact, including your starting point for the trip, where you are going and when you will be back.

"There was a big squall which came through the area on Monday afternoon, severe enough to cause a problem to even experienced kayakers.

"Sadly, you cannot always predict conditions at sea, even when they appear benign when you set off."

The MCA spokesman added: "Carrying a VHF radio on your vessel is vital and VHF DSC (Digital Selective Calling) is strongly recommended.

"Ensure your radio equipment is fully working and you know what to do in an emergency.

"With DSC you can send a distress alert along with your exact position, with one touch of the button.

"The distress alert is repeated every four minutes until it is acknowledged either by a Coastguard station (ship to shore) or by a vessel (ship to ship) within radio range.

"Maritime Mobile Service Identity (MMSI) numbers are programmed into a DSC radio set and an MMSI is issued as part of your radio licence application, via Ofcom. It consists of a series of nine digits, which are used to uniquely identify the radio on your vessel.

"Before heading out on the water get trained, check weather and tides, wear a lifejacket, avoid alcohol and keep in touch."

An Essex Police spokesman said officers were called by the ambulance service after the body of a man was found on the beach near East End Road, Bradwell, at 5.30am.

He said: "It is believed to be a man who failed to return home after he went out kayaking. It is being treated as an accident at this time, and the coroner will be informed."