AN INVESTIGATION has been launched after the body of a man was found in the sea in Lulworth Cove.

The grim discovery – which comes just over a week after a 21-year-old swimmer went missing at nearby Durdle Door and is feared dead – was made this afternoon.

The identity of the body in the water has not been established.

Dorset Police were called and made aware of a body in the water in the cove.

Police officers and coastguards attended and a man’s body was recovered.

The Weymouth all-weather lifeboat and Portland Coastguard helicopter, together with Lulworth, Wyke and Portland Bill Coastguard rescue teams were involved in the recovery operation.

The coroner has been informed.

A spokesman for Dorset Police said: “At 1.26pm on Friday, Dorset Police was made aware of a body in the water at Lulworth Cove.

“Officers and HM Coastguard attended and the body of a man was recovered. The identity of the man has not been established yet.”

A spokesman for the Maritime and Coastguard Agency said: “The call came in to us from Dorset Police that they had spotted something in the water.

“The Weymouth all-weather lifeboat was tasked to the scene.

“Lulworth Coastguard rescue team were asked to go and look from the cliff top and Wyke Coastguard team were sent to help them.”

Purbeck district councillor Barry Quinn represents the West Purbeck ward which covers Lulworth Cove.

He said: “This is very sad news.

“Our thoughts go out to the man’s friends and family.”

Dorset Police said the man has yet to be identified.

The discovery follows a major search and rescue operation in the nearby area on October 23 and 24 for a 21-year-old Portsmouth man, who went missing while swimming at Durdle Door. Two others in the water with him made it back to shore safely.

The operation involved both Weymouth lifeboats, the police helicopter, Portland Coastguard helicopter, Wyke and Lulworth Coastguard rescue teams, a Royal Navy helicopter, Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance, South West Ambulance crews and Dorset Police.

An intensive search of the area was conducted along the beaches and in the sea when he was reported missing on October 23 but the search had to be called off when darkness fell.

Further searches were conducted the following day along the coastline.

Coastguards said everything possible was done to find him but it appeared to be a ‘tragic accident.’