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Medway man missing after falling overboard from tug off Beachy Head

Coastguard Rescue 104 helicopter from Lee-on-the-Solent landing near Lower Stoke

The coastguard rescue helicopter above was used in the search

The search for a missing Medway man who fell overboard a tug in stormy conditions has been called off.

The 55-year-old was on board a vessel called Endurance, which was towing a 60ft motor cruiser from Dover to Brighton.

The tow was lost in the rough conditions and the man tried to reconnect it when he fell overboard at around 12.30am this morning.

The tragedy occurred off the coast of Eastbourne.

His colleague on board, who is also from Medway and aged 37, sent out a Mayday call.

Eastbourne all-weather lifeboat began their search for the man shortly afterwards, and drafted in help from neighbouring stations.

A Coastguard Rescue helicopter also joined the effort, which went on all night.

Mobile units from HM Coastguard joined the crews at first light but there was still no trace of the man.

A Eastbourne Lifeboat station spokesman said: “With nothing found the search was finally abandoned at 09:10am and the tired and battered volunteer crews returned to their respective stations having spent almost nine hours at sea.”

A Maritime and Coastguard Agency spokesman said two crews then went out and searched the shoreline at around 11am and were stood down two hours later.

He said: “It [the search] will not resume.”

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