Search for missing windsurfer called off
- Credit: Chris Bishop/Norfolk Constabulary
A search for a windsurfer who went missing off the coast of Norfolk over the weekend has been called off.
Chris Bamfield, 65, went missing off the coast of Hunstanton on Saturday afternoon, prompting multi-agency searches involving the coastguard, police and Norfolk Lowland Search and Rescue.
However, that search has since been called off, following reports from witnesses indicating that he had entered the water.
CCTV from Saturday shows Mr Bamfield parking his car close to Hunstanton Sailing Club, having travelled from his home in Middleton, near King’s Lynn and walking towards the beach carrying windsurfing equipment.
Police later found his car in the same spot, still locked and with a number of his personal belongings inside.
Further investigations suggest that beach-goers had spotted a windsurfer matching his description in the sea at Hunstanton that afternoon, while his windsurfing board and sail were later found off the coast.
Temporary Superintendent for King’s Lynn and Breckland, Lou Provart, said: “This is obviously a very distressing time for Chris’s family, who we have been in regular contact with throughout the investigation, and we thank them for their cooperation and patience during the investigations of the emergency, and search and rescue services.
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“Unfortunately, despite extensive local searches, Mr Bamfield hasn’t been located.
“Dedicated search teams including dog units, HM Coastguard boats and helicopters, and Norfolk Lowland Search and Rescue have been working over the weekend and into yesterday to try to find Chris, as we’ve grown increasingly concerned.
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“We are all aware of the unpredictable nature of the sea, and it’s likely that Mr Bamfield would have been exposed to the poor weather on Saturday while windsurfing.
“Despite the best efforts of all involved in the search to find him, it is tragically most likely that Mr Bamfield has at some point got into difficulty in the water.”
Over the weekend, extensive searches of the coastline took place involving Sutton Bridge, Wells, Skegness Coastguard Rescue Teams, Hunstanton and Wells lifeboats, search and rescue helicopter from Humberside, the Coastguard fixed wing aircraft and Norfolk Police.
Searches continued throughout the weekend and across Monday, but they were called off on Monday evening.