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Man goes missing during charity swim across Channel

Man goes missing during charity swim across Channel

Firefighter Iain Hughes has gone missing after taking part in a charity swim

A man has gone missing while on a charity swim across the English Channel, it has been confirmed.

Wednesbury firefighter Iain Hughes, 42, from Dudley, started the solo challenge with a support boat on Tuesday (20 June) from Dover before disappearing.

Iain has been praised by his colleagues.

Hughes is still missing despite a search involving military helicopters and navy police boats trying to find him.

The Channel crossing is 21 miles (34km) and it can take between seven and 27 hours to complete a swim.

Two weeks ago, Hughes shared a post on social media which said his solo swim had been delayed because of bad weather.

On 2 June, Hughes posted: "Stormy weather has prevented me from attempting the channel this week! Managed to get some training hours with my support crew."

Iain Hughes is a father-of-two.

West Midlands Fire Service said in a statement: "We are heartbroken to confirm that one of our crew managers, Iain Hughes, is missing after his inspiring attempt to swim the English Channel for charity."

The father-of-two has worked for the fire service since the age of 19 and currently works for its technical rescue unit.

The fire service statement continued: “In spite of search efforts involving French and Belgian military helicopters, plus navy and police patrol boats, Iain's whereabouts remain unknown.”

Chief fire officer Wayne Brown, called Hughes’ disappearance 'unspeakably sad'.

"We are giving Iain's family all the support we can at this distressing time," he said.

Iain Hughes was raising money for charity.

Hughes was aiming to raise £21,000 for the British Heart Foundation, Midlands Air Ambulance and Fire Fighters’ Charity. He had already raised more than £9,500 as of Thursday morning on Just Giving.

The BBC reports Gris-Nez operational surveillance and rescue centre (CROSS) was told that a swimmer had vanished on Tuesday off the Cap Gris-Nez. Helicopters were sent from the French and Belgian as well as a French Navy patrol boat to join the search.

Late on Wednesday evening, West Midlands fire service confirmed the search for Hughes had been called off.

The Channel Swimming and Piloting Federation, a service which monitors swimmers crossing the Channel, said: “The CSPF deeply regret to announce that a solo swimmer who was attempting a crossing of the English Channel on 20 June 2023, is being reported as missing in action. Following a sea search, the swimmer was unable to be found.”

Featured Image Credit: Instagram/@hughesyswims

Topics: News