A WINDSURFER has died after he became separated from his board off the Northumberland coast at Blyth yesterday.
The alarm was raised by two members of the public at around 12.25pm after his board was spotted off the coast between Blyth and Seaton Sluice.
Coastguard officials quickly launched a major search operation to find the man. A helicopter from RAF Boulmer, Northumberland, which was on a training operation close by, was called to the scene.
The man’s body was plucked from the water at around 1pm and airlifted to Wansbeck Hospital, but he was pronounced dead on arrival.
A coastguard spokesman said: “We got the call at around 12.22pm to say that there was a windsurfer who was facing down and not moving in the water. We had a rescue helicopter which was on an exercise just 10 minutes away, and we requested it to the local area immediately.” Lifeboats from Blyth RNLI and Cullercoats RNLI were also launched in a desperate bid to locate the man.
He was found out at sea near the Gloucester Lodge Farm, between Blyth’s south beach and Seaton Sluice, some distance from his board.
The coastguard spokesman added: “We located him within half an hour and he was taken straight away to Wansbeck Hospital. We took two 999 calls at exactly the same time from people who reported seeing this person.”
Police are making inquiries into the death, but no one else is believed to be involved.
A police spokesman said: “At 12.53pm on Wednesday, November 7, police were notified by the coastguard of a windsurfer missing off the coast of Blyth. Shortly afterwards they updated us to say that the body of a man had been recovered from the sea.
“He was taken to Wansbeck Hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival. Inquiries are ongoing and a report will be prepared for the coroner in due course.”