Plea for residents to ‘stay out of the sea’ after man drowns

Police and the coastguard at Brighton beach on Saturday (Photograph: Eddie Mitchell)
Police and the coastguard at Brighton beach on Saturday (Photograph: Eddie Mitchell)

Brighton and Hove’s city council leader has warned people to stay out of the sea after a man drowned this weekend.

The body of a man who went missing off the coast of Brighton was found by a passer-by on Hove beach on Saturday afternoon (March 25), according to police.

Cllr Warren Morgan, leader of the council, praised the efforts of emergency services, the council’s seafront team and members of the Brighton Surf Club in trying to rescue the man.

He said: “We are all immensely saddened by the drowning of a man off our seafront on Saturday, and our hearts go out to the man’s family and friends.

“Despite very cold water conditions a large number of people did their absolute best to try and save him, and I would like to thank everyone who was involved.

“Our seafront team and the Brighton Surf Club team did a brilliant job coordinating the rescue attempt with excellent support from the RNLI boat, search and rescue helicopter and coastguard support units.

“I would particularly like to thank the Brighton Surf Club team for their efforts. They were under no obligation to help out, but they still spent nearly three hours continuously diving into the cold water to locate and rescue a person in need.

“Our advice to residents and visitors is simple: please stay out of the sea at this time of year.

“The very low water temperature means even strong swimmers can be at risk of hypothermia within seconds, even in good weather conditions.

“Our lifeguard service operates from May to September and does a magnificent job. Our seafront is a great place to be, and it is safe for people to swim in the sea during this period as long as they show common sense and follow the sea safety advice on our website.

“Despite its tragic outcome I hope this incident will help reassure residents and visitors that we and our colleagues in the emergency services really do go the extra mile to help people in need.

“We are acutely aware of the stresses experienced by the people involved in this rescue attempt, and we are offering our staff appropriate help and support.”

Sussex Police confirmed that a man’s body was found shortly after 2.30pm on Saturday near to the peace statue in Hove.

A police spokesman said: “Emergency services responded to concerns for a male in the water.

“The coastguard along with Sussex Police and other emergency services conducted a search for the man.”

The search had been called off earlier that afternoon before the body was found, according to police.

The police spokesman added: “The body was recovered by a member of the public. It has been confirmed as that of the male who had gone missing earlier.

“Police are taking steps to contact his next of kin. We are trying to update them of the situation.”

The man, who has not been formally identified, died at the scene, police said.