Emergency services hunt for person swept into sea in Brighton amid high winds and rain – a day after woman died there
- A person was swept out to sea near famous Palace Pier at height of Storm Noa
- Lifeboats were launched and helicopter took off in high winds to scour shoreline
A rescue operation has been launched in Brighton after reports a person has been swept into the sea, just a day after a woman died there.
Reports flooded in of a person being swept out to sea near Palace Pier at the height of Storm Noa late this afternoon.
Lifeboats from Newhaven and Shoreham were launched and the coastguard helicopter took off in high winds to scour the shoreline.
Members of the public on the beach battled ferocious winds and rain in an attempt to spot the missing person in the water and direct the rescue operation.
James Deacon, a builder, said: ‘I was down at the front and then there was a huge commotion. People shouting that a teenage boy had been swept off the big stone groyne near the pier.
Reports flooded in of a person being swept out to sea near the famous Palace Pier at the height of Storm Noa late this afternoon
Lifeboats from Newhaven and Shoreham were launched and the coastguard helicopter took off in high winds to scour the shoreline
Members of the public on the beach battled ferocious winds and rain in an attempt to spot the missing person in the water and direct the rescue operation
‘I had a look but couldn’t see anyone but the coastguard helicopter and the lifeboats were launched and have been searching for a couple of hours without finding anyone.’
Dramatic footage shows coastguards and police running onto the Albion Groyne shortly after a man was captured waving a life ring to bystanders on the Palace Pier.
Half a dozen police can be seen scouring the water for a person before officers sprint onto the pier. Shortly afterwards two lifeboats and the coastguard helicopter were launched.
Another bystander said: ‘I heard someone had been swept into the water near the Palace Pier.
‘There was an immediate commotion. Lifeboats were launched and the helicopter has been up in treacherous conditions.
‘It is blowing a gale here and the wind, rain and visibility are dreadful, you can hardly see a thing.
‘A large number of police officers rushed to the pier while dozens of people have been trying to spot the child in the water.
‘It’s tragic. I don’t think anyone is going to be able to survive in the water for very long. The waves are enormous and the winds are making it impossible for the lifeboats and helicopter.’
A coastguard spokeswoman said crews from Newhaven, Littlehampton and Shoreham were assisting police and the RNLI in a search for a possible person in the water near the Palace Pier.
She said: ‘HM Coastguard’s Newhaven, Littlehampton and Shoreham Coastguard Rescue Teams, alongside Shoreham and Newhaven RNLI all-weather lifeboats, Sussex Police and the Coastguard helicopter from Lee-On-Solent are coordinating a search for a possible person in the water at Brighton Palace Pier, following concerns first raised to emergency services shortly before 4pm today.’
A spokesperson for Sussex Police said: ‘Emergency services were called to a report of a person seen going into the water by Brighton Pier at about 3.50pm on Wednesday in extremely rough sea conditions.
‘Searches by the Shoreham and Newhaven RNLI lifeboats and the coastguard helicopter are currently ongoing along with coastguard teams and police on the shoreline.’
The difficult search comes amid Storm Noa wreaking havoc across the UK with 75mph gusts which left hundreds of properties without power and brought trees down across roads and train tracks.
Coastal areas in the South West were worst hit, with the National Grid reporting in the afternoon that 268 properties in Devon and 43 in Cornwall had been left without power.
A 96mph gust was recorded by the Met Office at The Needles on The Isle of White – the strongest in the UK.
Tom Morgan, a meteorologist at the Met Office, said: ‘In addition to the strong winds, we’ve seen heavy showers and thunderstorms relatively widely through England and Wales this afternoon, particularly in south-east England and East Anglia.
‘We’ve also seen snow across the higher ground of Wales in the Pennines, and across the Scottish Highlands.’
Wind and rain sweeping through regions have led to rapid drops in temperature, with temperatures falling in Rothamsted, Hertfordshire, by four degrees in the space of an hour.
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