Challenging night-time search in rough seas

Fears are growing for a man who was swept out to sea at Blackpool.

Despite an extensive search in rough seas by lifeboat crews, plus police and the Royal Air Force helicopters, the casualty has not been found.

RNLI volunteers lifeboat crew was called out shortly after midnight on 1 January

It was reported that a man had entered the water at South Pier at high tide in very rough conditions and had got
into difficulties.

An RNLI spokesman said: ‘Shortly
after midnight the man had entered the water but quickly got into
difficulties in the treacherous sea conditions.

‘Another man tried to
assist him but was forced back to the shore where he raised the alarm.

‘At 00:13am Blackpool and Lytham RNLI lifeboat crews were paged.

‘Conditions on scene were extremely rough and were exacerbated by the
high tide and as a result Blackpool’s inshore lifeboats could not be
launched immediately.

‘However, Lytham’s RNLI all weather lifeboat, the
police helicopter and the RAF search and rescue helicopter began a
search and Blackpool’s RNLI volunteers prepared to launch at the
earliest opportunity.’

Shortly after high water the sea conditions
allowed two of Blackpool’s RNLI inshore lifeboat’s to launch.

The sea
conditions were extreme and the search was difficult and dangerous.

Despite the extensive combined efforts of the RNLI,
Coastguard, police and RAF, the man could not be found and the Coastguard
took the decision at 03:30am to stand down the search teams.

Coastguard rescue teams continued the search of the beach and
shoreline this morning.

Blackpool RNLI spokesman Paul Parton described the night-time search as ‘a long and difficult one’.

He added: ‘Sadly we were unable
to find the casualty.’