RNLI video captures search for missing man in rough seas off Eastbourne

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THE RNLI has released dramatic video coverage of their search for a man lost overboard in violent seas off Sovereign Harbour.

The 55-year-old crewman, who has not been named, remains missing despite an exhaustive nine-hour search through the night off Eastbourne by the Coastguard and two RNLI crews.

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The video shows the Newhaven lifeboat crew pulling alongside a 60ft motor cruiser in difficult conditions to search for the man.

He had been aboard the tug “Endurance” which was towing the motor cruiser from Dover to Brighton when the tragedy occured around inmidnight.

In gale force winds and violent seas off Eastbourne, the two was lost. One of the two crewmen aboard “Endurance” tried to re-establish contact with the motor cruiser when he fell overboard.

His colleague sent out a Mayday distress call which prompted a major search operation through the night.

The volunteer crew from Eastbourne’s RNLI was scrambled at just after 12.30am to search close inshore off Beachy Head where they were joined by the Coastguard helicopter.

The Newhaven RNLI lifeboat was later launched in Force 11 winds and violent seas to collect the cabin cruiser which had drifted five miles from the scene. The video shows the volunteer crew pulling alongside the craft to attach it and two the cruiser to Sovereign Harbour.

The two lifeboats continued their search throughout the night and were joined at first light by mobile units from HM Coastguard. The search was finally called off at 9.10am after the crews had spent almost nine hours at sea.

Today, Coastguard rescue teams searched the beaches between Birling Gap and Eastbourne, but this was called off an 2pm this afternoon after no body was found.

The other crewman aboard “Endurance” is a 37-year-old man from Kent who was uninjured and arrived safely onshore at 3.20am, according to Sussex Police.