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Swimmer dies in Brighton beach tragedy
A man drowned whilst swimming off Brighton beach.
A major search was launched after the day-tripper went missing whilst swimming with friends near the West Pier at about 2.20pm yesterday. Lifeboat crews and the coastguard helicopter scoured the waters for several hours looking for the 24-year-old.
But as emergency services called off the search his body washed up between the two piers at about 5.20pm. Seafront officers performed CPR for about 20 minutes, but could not revive him.
Horrified onlookers watched as the man was dragged from the surf by seafront officers.
Many witnesses were in tears during the frantic attempts to save his, but when he could not be saved a windbreak was drawn around the body until the coroner's office arrived.
The man, who was from London, had been on a day trip with friends to Brighton and had gone for a swim but was spotted getting into difficulties before disappearing.
When his friends got out of the water they could not find him and raised the alarm.
His friends are believed to have told police he was not a strong swimmer, prompting a two hour search of the beach and water.
Sussex Police said that the man's family had not yet been informed.
A police spokesman said: “At 2.20pm police were informed by the Coastguard that a man swimming off Brighton beach was in difficulties.
“The man is understood to be 24 and from London, and was with a group of friends visiting Brighton for the day when he appears to have got into difficulties just off the beach at the bottom of West Street.”
RNLI boats searching further out to sea before smaller rafts passed up and down the surf with crew desperately trying to spot any sign of the victim.
Several fishing boats and kayakers from Brighton Watersports on the beachfront joined in the search.
Alex Lawrence, 38, who works on the seafront, said: “I thought it was just another exercise but then I saw on the internet that someone was missing.
“I saw the helicopter hovering over West Pier and the lifeboats were moving slowly across the shallows.”
At about 5pm the RNLI, Coastguard and police had all decided to end their search for the day and said they would start looking again this morning. However just minutes later his body washed up on the beach.
Police said the man's family had not yet been informed and they were awaiting a report from the coroner's office, which is expected today.
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