MAN died after jumping off the Palace Pier on the busiest weekend of the year so far.

Visitors on the boardwalk saw the 39-year-old Brighton man fall into the water and called emergency services on Saturday at 6pm – while the seafront was packed with hundreds of people enjoying a springtime burst of sun- shine.

It was the first of three deaths on the Sussex coast at the weekend. Coastguard rescue teams from Shoreham and Newhaven, and the Brighton lifeboat crew, arrived at the scene within minutes.

Around 25 people took part in the search and the man was found 20 minutes later.

He was was pronounced dead at Royal Sussex County Hospital later that evening.

A Brighton lifeboat crew spokeswoman said the team carried out CPR before handing the casualty to South East Coast Ambulance Service paramedics.

A police spokesman said: “The incident is not being treated as suspicious and the coroner’s office will be continuing enquiries. The body is believed to be that of a 39-year old Brighton man. His next of kin are being traced.”

Keen photographer Ann Fielding, 40, of Queen’s Park, spent the early evening cap- turing the sunset on the pier at the time of the tragedy.

She said: “The pier was absolutely packed.  It was a lovely day and everyone was enjoying the sunshine.

“I take photographs for a hobby and at about 6pm there was a huge starling display by the Palace Pier which caught everyone’s attention. It was a beautiful day and the birds were stunning.

“As I left I saw large numbers of police arriving at the pier and lots of emergency services.

“I was really sad to hear about this incident. It is so tragic this happened on such a busy and beautiful day.”

Three beach deaths in less than 24 hours

EMERGENCY services found three bodies along the Sussex coastline this weekend.

Crews were also called to Beachy Head two hours after the Palace Pier incident on Saturday after another body was found.

The Eastbourne Lifeboat crew, pictured, were called to Birling Gap, at the foot of the cliffs, at 8pm. The body – believed to be of an Eastbourne woman in her seventies – was recovered by the crew.

A police spokesman said: “The death is not being treated as suspicious and the coroner will be continuing enquiries. Next of kin are being informed.”

The Eastbourne lifeboat was called out again to the lighthouse near Beachy Head at 2pm yesterday after a third body was found.

The police spokesman said: “At 1.20pm on Sunday the body of a man in his sixties was found. The death is not being treated as suspicious. The coroner will continue enquiries.”

  • Last week police were searching for a missing 62-year-old Eastbourne man after he did not return from a shopping trip. David Bishop, of Upper ton Road, was last seen with his pet dog on Tuesday. Police said Mr Bishop was depressed after he found out cancer diagnosed in 2011 had returned.