Burnham-On-Sea, Somerset

Published: August 9, 2006
Air and sea search fails to find 'missing swimmer' in River Axe

A helicopter searches the River Axe on Tuesday August 8th

A major air and sea search was launched at Brean Down on Tuesday night (August 8th) after a swimmer went missing after apparently setting out to cross the fast-flowing River Axe estuary.

An RAF helicopter from Chivenor in Devon was called to the incidentA man in his late teens is believed to have tried to swim from the Brean side of the river across to Uphill on the Weston side.

Members of the public onboard a nearby boat had earlier warned a person seen in the water not to attempt to cross the river.

But, minutes later, shouts for help were heard by the boat's occupants and Coastguards were alerted.

Coastguards from Burnham-On-Sea and two lifeboats from Weston rushed to the estuary to conduct a full search of the area, but no-one was found.

Lifeboats searched the waters of the River Axe for the missing swimmerAn RAF helicopter from Chivenor in Devon was also called to the scene to conduct sweeps of the river and the northern side of Brean Down using infra-red imaging equipment.

A dark coloured T-shirt was found next to the river's edge by one of the Coastguard team, but it was unclear whether this was connected to the incident.

The two and a half hour search was called off for the night at around 8.30pm and a Coastguard spokesman said further searches of the area would be conducted.

Helen Hudson from Swansea Coastguard added on Wednesday morning: "We received a call from people onboard a vessel in the River Axe reporting that a male could be seen. They then heard cries for help in the area a few minutes later, contacted us and a full search was launched."

"We have had no reports of persons missing overnight, but are fearful that if someone was in the water they may have been into difficulties. We take reports like this very seriously."

Coastguards watch on as the helicopter searches the river banks


Video of air and sea search for missing River Axe swimmer

BBC Online coverage of this story

Helicopter rescues stranded yachtsman at River Axe

Family of three rescued after failed bid to cross River Axe

Coastguards rehearse River Axe mud rescue


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