A tug crewman was lost at sea after an “ill-considered” and “desperate” attempt to reconnect a tow line.

An accident report by the Marine Accident Investigation Branch said Steven Trice, 55, was not wearing a lifejacket when he fell into rough seas off Beachy Head as he attempted to connect a tow.

Mr Trice, a crewman on the tug Endurance, was attempting to attach a replacement towline to the motor cruiser Sirius M.

The MAIB said: “Steven’s attempt to transfer from Endurance to Sirius M when both vessels were under way in rough seas and in darkness was extraordinarily dangerous.

“It was a desperate and ill- considered measure brought about by the use of poor towing practices, a disregard of the weather forecasts, and a lack of planning, risk assessment and emergency preparedness.”

The body of Mr Trice, from Kent, was not found until it washed ashore 11 weeks after the accident took place on Febuary 5 last year.