Two friends’ bodies recovered from sea in Brighton after empty inflatable dinghy found

Harry Cockburn
·3 min read
Aerial shot of Brighton beach on 7 August 2020: Getty
Aerial shot of Brighton beach on 7 August 2020: Getty

Two bodies have been recovered from the sea off the coast of Brighton.

A large-scale sea and air search began on Monday evening after the discovery of an empty inflatable dinghy floating in the sea off Lancing, west of Brighton.

A coastguard helicopter searched the sea from above, while quad bike riders with binoculars scanned the water from land.

RNLI lifeboats from Shoreham and Brighton were deployed to search the area, and on Monday evening the RNLI recovered a body from the sea.

But as police worked to identify the body it became clear a second man was also missing.

On Tuesday morning the second body was spotted by the coastguard helicopter and brought ashore on a lifeboat.

No formal identification has taken place but is believed to be that of the missing man, police said.

His next of kin have been informed.

A Sussex Police spokesperson told local paper The Argus: “A second body has been recovered from the sea by RNLI lifeboat crews and HM Coastguard who were searching after a dinghy was found floating empty in the sea off Shoreham on Monday.

“The body of a man was recovered by the RNLI Shoreham lifeboat from the sea off Brighton just after 5pm on Monday afternoon.

“He has not been formally identified at this time, but it is believed to be that of a man linked to the small, unoccupied dinghy that had been found at 1.40pm.

“During enquiries to confirm the identity of the man it became apparent that his friend was also missing and a search continued at sea on Monday evening and resumed on Tuesday morning.

“Around 8.45am, a body was spotted by the crew of a Coastguard helicopter and was picked up by the Shoreham lifeboat crew.

“It has not formally identified, but is believed to be that of the missing man.”

According to The Argus the men were believed to be friends.

The inflatable boat contained a mobile phone, clothing and a shopping trolley.

The deaths come a week after another man was found dead following a huge search operation when his inflatable kayak washed up in Hove, west of Brighton.

On Sunday the Maritime and Coastguard agency said 167 people had been rescued and 386 helped in incidents around the coast of the UK that day alone.

This was even higher than Saturday, when the agency said the service rescued 146 people and assisted a further 371 people.

Over the weekend the Coastguard’s head of operations Richard Hackwell urged caution.

He said: “We have seen a big rise in incident numbers this weekend as more people visit coastal areas and head to the beach. We understand that people want to have fun at the coast and enjoy the heatwave but we urge everyone to respect the sea and take responsibility in helping to ensure the safety of themselves, friends and family.

“We’re heading into a period of more good weather so we want to remind you to check and double check tide times as even the most experienced swimmer or keen watersports enthusiast can get caught out by currents and tides. Plan your day out, always exercise caution and make sure you have a way of contacting us if you get into trouble.”

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