Family of Brighton diver missing for over 36 hours hopeful he will be found alive
- Credit: Archant
Hope is fading for a missing diver who was exploring a shipwreck off the coast of Great Yarmouth.
The Coastguard called off their search for the 68-year-old man from Brighton on Tuesday morning.
An extensive 14 hour air and sea search operation was carried out after the man was reported missing at 6pm on bank holiday Monday.
The man's family told the BBC they did not wish to identify the man yet and are shocked by what has happened.
The family still have hope he will be found alive, the man's niece said, but if not then he was doing something he loved.
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He was diving on an unnamed wreck 12 miles east of Yarmouth from the dive boat Raider V.
A North Sea search was launched involving two Coastguard rescue helicopters from Lydd and Humberside and RNLI lifeboats from Gorleston and Lowestoft along with the Caister Independent lifeboat.
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A spokesman for HM Coastguard said the Lowestoft-registered diving vessel voluntarily returned to the wreck site yesterday morning to search the sea floor but did not find anything.
They added that formal searches may be resumed upon the receipt of any new information and they continued to put out mayday calls to other ships in the area throughout the day and passing vessels were asked to assist with the search for the diver.
A spokesman for Lowestoft Lifeboat said: 'When we arrived on scene we found that water conditions were very good for searching, it was a good calm evening.
'We could see bits of wood and seals in the water so we would have been able to spot someone if they had been there.'
As the sun set the rescue crews used search lights to continue the operation into Monday night.
At around 1.30am an inflatable vessel from the Lowestoft station arrived with new crew to relieve the lifeboat crew who had been at work for several hours.
The Caister Independent lifeboat returned to its station to refuel and change some crew at 3.30am and relaunched at 4.30am and continued searching for four hours.
A spokesman for Great Yarmouth and Gorleston Lifeboat, who were also involved in the overnight search operation, said the crews' thoughts remained with the diver's loved ones.
In August 2013, Christopher Vanstone, 49 and from London, died while diving off the coast of Great Yarmouth from the same Raider V boat.
A coroner later concluded Mr Vanstone's death was accidental.