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UPDATED: Family tell of fears for missing sailor
8:00am Wednesday 25th September 2013 in News
THE family of a missing sailor have spoken of their fears after his unmanned yacht was discovered on the French coast.
Following the discovery of his yacht Palamina on the French coastline between Dieppe and Fecamp on Monday morning, fears are growing for Weymouth sailor Jeff Cole.
The 61-year-old left Castle Cove Sailing Club on Saturday morning at 7am intending to sail to Swanage but never arrived.
The cruiser was found near Veulettes-sur-Mer on Monday morning. There was no sign of Mr Cole. French authorities launched a search and rescue operation but have so far not found any trace of Mr Cole.
The investigation is still ongoing.
Speaking to the Echo Mr Cole’s daughter Sam said she now feared the worst.
She said: “He adored sailing and it’s my belief that he has passed away doing something he absolutely adored.
“It was a journey he did many a time.
“His charts have been kept immaculately.”
“It must have been something very sudden and immediate.”
She added that she felt ok with that as he was doing something he loved.
The family have requested that their privacy be respected at this time.
Critical Incident Inspector for Dorset Police Roger Robinson said the police would be continuing to work with the coastguards and the French authorities on the missing person enquiry.
He said that French authorities conducted a search on Monday.
Once the coastguards complete a search the investigation becomes a missing person enquiry and comes under the remit of the police.
He said: “I understand the French authorities did a search and rescue operation when the boat was found washed up.
“We are conducting the normal type of enquiries whenever anyone goes missing out of the blue.”
He said this included talking to family, friends and associates to try and establish if there was a reason for the person going missing.
He said: “We have no reason for him going missing.”
Insp Robinson said they were appealing for information.
“If anyone has any relevant information, if they can contact us on 101.”
Coastguards 'will do everything in their power'
COUNCILLOR John Birtwistle, of Weymouth and Portland Borough Council, who represents the ward in which Castle Cove Sailing Club lies, said he was concerned to hear the news.
He said: “I'm very concerned to hear someone might have gone missing - I hope he turns up well.
“I'm sure both the coastguard and their French equivalent will do everything in their power.
“They are very competent.”
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