A SEARCH will resume today for a 27-year-old man feared drowned after he failed to return from a New Year night swim with pals near Porthleven.
The man, from Guildford in Surrey, was one of a group of five who went for a dip in rough waters at Loe Bar beach at around 1am yesterday.
It is believed a big wave swept him out to sea – and police have reportedly admitted it is looking less likely that he managed to crawl to safety.
Appalling weather conditions hampered the initial search and rescue mission, with lifeboats struggling to get close to the shore. Emergency services teams are set to scour the coastline today in a fresh bid to locate the missing man.
A police spokesman said last night: “The male was part of a group on holiday in the area, five of whom went for a night swim. It was only when the other swimmers returned to the beach, that they realised their friend was not with them. The weather and water conditions, at the time, were described as being rough.
“Police were contacted by Her Majesty’s Coast Guard at 1.30am and a joint search and rescue operation, including lifeboats and search and rescue helicopter was instigated until the weather was considered too dangerous to continue. Further searches of the coastline are currently being made. The family of the male are aware of the incident.”
Yesterday morning’s search involved Coastguard cliff rescue teams from Penzance, Porthleven, Mullion and Porthoustock, as well as RNLI lifeboat crews from Penlee and Lizard and the search and rescue helicopter from RNAS Culdrose.
However, it had to be abandoned at around 4am due to “atrocious” weather conditions, and was resumed at first light.
A Marine and Coastguard spokesperson said: "The person had gone out walking with a group of friends who had decided to make for Loe Bar. The group went for a paddle in the rough seas and when some of them were up to their knees a large wave swept the person off their feet.
"One of the group called 999 and spoke to Falmouth Coastguard who immediately requested the following to begin a search."
Phil Mathias, Falmouth Coastguard Watch Manager, said the weather had been "particularly challenging" and as the night went on, conditions deteriorated.
He said yesterday: "There have been south to south westerly gale force to severe gale force winds with very rough sea and rain.
"The teams have conducted a very intensive search for the missing person. We have been able to focus our efforts into a relatively tight area because of onshore winds but have still been unable to locate the missing person.”