UK & World News

  • 2 January 2013, 13:12

Blackpool Dog Walker Swept Out To Sea

Rescue crews have called off the search for a man who was swept into the sea in gale-force winds.

The 41-year-old was reportedly walking his dog in Blackpool with another man just after midnight on New Year's Day when the pair ended up in the water.

The second man got to safety and raised the alarm but fears are growing for the missing man, who police say is from the local area.

A search was carried out by RNLI and Coastguard crews from Blackpool and Lytham St Annes, and was assisted by the Lancashire Police helicopter and the search and rescue helicopter from RAF Valley on Anglesey.

Prince William was part of the RAF crew involved in the search, according to Sky sources.

Stuart Atkinson, watch manager at Crosby Coastguard station, said: "We received a call at 12.13am from Lancashire Police reporting that a male was in the water near the South Pier at Blackpool.

"A second male had been in the water but managed to get to safety and raise the alarm.

"We believe, but it's not confirmed, that they were walking their dogs.

"A search was carried out by coastguard rescue units, the local RNLI lifeboats from Blackpool and Lytham St Annes and the police helicopter.

"The rescue helicopter from RAF Valley was also there providing lighting assistance for the search teams.

"The area was searched and unfortunately we didn't find the 41-year-old male at that time.

"We do believe a life ring was thrown to him and a football. We have located the football but not the life ring."

Lancashire Police said it would now wait for the man's body to wash up on the shore.

Mr Atkinson said the initial search operation was hampered by very strong, westerly gale-force winds.