Police confirm that body found off South Wales coast is missing teenager Hollie McClymont

The schoolgirl was last seen getting into difficulty on Sunday afternoon off the coast of Whitmore Bay

A body found in the sea off South Wales is missing Scottish teenager Hollie McClymont, police have confirmed.

The 14-year-old, from Glasgow, had not been seen since she went swimming off Barry Island last Sunday.

More than 40 specialist officers were deployed in the search for the teenager, as well as a helicopter and Coastguards.

Detectives broke the news Hollie's family had been dreading - a body had been found near to where the schoolgirl was last seen alive. Chief Inspector Marc Lamerton, of South Wales Police, said the deceased had now been formally identified.

He said: “We can confirm that a body recovered from the sea near Fontygary in the Vale of Glamorgan has been formally identified as that of 14-year-old Hollie McClymont The body was discovered by a police search team this afternoon. Our thoughts are with Hollie's family at this difficult time.”

St Thomas Aquinas Secondary School pupil Hollie had gone to South Wales with her mother, Sarah, for a holiday.

Police said the Scottish family chose Barry Island because they have relatives living in the area.

The teenager was last seen getting into difficulty at around 2.45pm on Sunday off the coast of Whitmore Bay which is a popular destination for sun-seekers.

However, officers said emergency crews were not alerted to the incident until an hour after she was last seen, something Coastguards said they were “dumbfounded by”.

Once the alarm had been raised, life-savers sprang into action, calling on the skills and local knowledge of RNLI crews as well as deploying a helicopter in the area. But 24 hours later, Coastguards said they had exhausted their efforts to find Hollie and formally handed the investigation over to police.

Mr Lamerton said officers were being “pragmatic” in their search efforts. “We have 40 officers working on this, including specialist search teams trained to work underwater and the force's helicopter,” he said at the time.

“As you can imagine, her family are devastated - both those visiting from Glasgow and those living here in Barry. Hollie has visited the area before, but at this point there is nothing to suggest there is anyone else involved.“

News of the discovery of a body in the hunt for Hollie was described as a ”nightmare scenario“.

Steffan Wiliam, a Barry resident and Plaid Cymru councillor at the Vale of Glamorgan Council, said: ”This is awful, awful news - the nightmare scenario we have all been worrying about. This is the most awful news we could have had. Our thoughts go out to the family at this awful time. The pain and grief they must be feeling now is terrible.“

He said that, from the location where police said the body was found, it appeared the teenager had gone outside the bay.

Fontygary is a small seaside village three miles south-west of Barry with a small stony beach and a holiday and leisure park nearby. Currents outside the relative protection of Whitmore Bay will carry an object up or down the coastline and eventually out to sea.

Scores of tributes have also been paid via social network sites such as Facebook.

One site user wrote: “This is so sad. The summer should have been a happy time for her and her family. RIP."

PA

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