Lost cross-channel swimmer found after eight-hour search – just 500m off Dover

Two coastguard teams, two lifeboats and two helicopters scrambled in massive rescue operation

Vincent Wood
Tuesday 01 September 2020 01:49
Two lifeboats and two helicopters were among the resources deployed to find the swimmer (File photo)
Two lifeboats and two helicopters were among the resources deployed to find the swimmer (File photo)

A man who attempted to swim from Dover to Calais only to trigger an eight-hour rescue operation was plucked from the water just 500m from the coast.

Emergency services were called after after a man had contacted the coastguard to express concern over his friend’s attempt to cross the channel.

However after a large-scale hunt for the man was triggered at about midday on Monday, with search-and-rescue helicopters deployed as well as RNLI lifeboats, he was found shortly before 8pm some 10 swimming pool-lengths from the shore.

Though cold and tired, he was not in any medical distress. He was picked up after being spotted by a passing vessel

The incident is understood to be unrelated to the migrant channel crossings which dominated political discourse at the start of the month as people attempted to travel from France into the UK on makeshift boats.

A coastguard spokesperson said: “At around 12.10pm today HM Coastguard received a call from a member of the public with information that their friend was swimming unaccompanied to Calais from Dover.

“Coastguard rescue teams from Deal and Langdon, RNLI lifeboats from Dover and Dungness and coastguard search and rescue helicopters from Lydd and Lee-on-Solent were sent.

“Vessels in the area were asked to keep a sharp lookout and Kent Police, Dover Port Police and Dover Port were informed.

“The swimmer was spotted shortly before 8pm by a passing vessel only 500 metres off Dover and was taken onboard the RNLI Dungeness lifeboat, cold and tired but otherwise well.

“He has been brought to shore and will be checked over by South East Ambulance Service.”

Additional reporting by Press Association

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