Body found in search for man who went missing during charity swim across Channel
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A body found in waters near Belgium has been identified as Iain Hughes, the firefighter who went missing during a charity swim across the English Channel.
It’s been over a month since Hughes disappeared on 20 June, having crossed into French water.
His family has described the news as ‘unbearable’.
Prior to his sudden passing, Hughes had been based at Wednesbury fire station and originally joined the fire service at 19.
Eager to undertake the solo challenge, the dad-of-two had trained for nearly two years and had a support boat to help him undertake the incredible journey.
Sadly though, the crew manager never made it to the shore.
Despite an extensive search for the missing man by French and Belgian authorities, it was over a month until his body was recovered.
Upon hearing the tragic news, his family released a statement which read: "Our lives were shattered when Iain went missing. He was our world. We miss him more than words can ever say.
"We are proud of Iain for so many reasons. He put his heart and soul into training for the swim, but that was Iain - determined to help and support others."
Though his charity challenge took a tragic turn, the online fundraiser launched by the 42-year-old has received a staggering amount of donations.
At the time of the Channel swim, Mr Hughes had been hoping to raise roughly £21,000 for three charities: The Fire Fighters Charity, Midlands Air Ambulance and British Heart Foundation.
Following his death, well-wishers have followed the site with tributes and donations - which now total over £56,000.
The West Midlands Fire Service will also be paying tribute to their late crew member, with flags at their fire stations flying at half-mast on Friday.
There will also be a book of condolence on their website, for those who knew Mr Hughes to leave messages for his family.
Speaking about their sudden loss, the fire service thanked the public for their outpouring of love for their fallen member.
Chief officer Wayne Brown told the press: "This is devastating news. Iain's family are foremost in our thoughts at this distressing time, and we are giving them all possible support."
"I know that many people have been affected by Iain's disappearance."
"We, in turn, have been touched by the hundreds of kind messages we have received, and the overwhelming response to Iain's fundraising page. Thank you."
Featured Image Credit: Iain Hughes Instagram/HughesySwims
Topics: UK News