Update: Body found on beach is missing sailor

Geoffrey Cole

Geoffrey Cole - Credit: PA

A man whose body was recovered from the sea near Ladram Bay last Friday has been named as a missing sailor.

Geoffrey Cole, 61, from Weymouth in Dorset, set sail from the town on September 21 bound for Swanage, but never arrived.

His yacht was found two days later near Calais with no-one aboard, and at that stage police were concerned for Mr Cole’s safety.

His body was recovered by rescue teams at Sandy Cove, near Ladram Bay, in the early hours of Friday morning.

A Dorset Police spokesman said: “The male has been positively identified as the missing Dorset man Geoffrey Cole, who was last seen in September sailing his boat off the Dorset coast.

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“The next of kin have been informed and asked for their privacy to be respected at this most difficult time.

“Dorset Police would like to thank the public and the various maritime agencies for their assistance in tracing Mr Cole.”

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Rescuers were first called to reports of a body in the water at Sandy Cove last Thursday afternoon.

Attempts made by boat and air were unsuccessful at around 2pm so the crews had to wait until low tide.

Sidmouth Lifeboat made initial attempts to reach the body but were thwarted by sea and weather conditions.

Beer Coastguard and Exmouth Coastguard also attended and tried a cliff recovery, but the tide and sea conditions meant they would have been up to their waists.

A helicopter was then called in, but the position of the body meant it would have been too dangerous to go down on a winch.

The decision was made to wait until low water, at 12.30am on Friday, when a team of 18 recovered the body.

Beer Coastguard Terry Hoare said: “Somebody in the holiday camp saw the body.”

“It was a lengthy and tricky operation.

“Three of our crew had to retrieve the body from the cave.”

An Exmouth Coastguard spokesman said: “Our thoughts are with the deceased’s family.”

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