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Body found in search for swimmer who vanished at Durdle Door on Sunday

A body has been found in the search for a man who went missing while swimming at Durdle Door.

A major search was under way for a man in his 20s who vanished while swimming in the Purbeck area off the Dorset coast on Sunday.

Dorset Police today said after "extensive searches" by officers from Dorset Police, members of the police dive team, HM Coastguard and the RNLI, with assistance from the ambulance service, his body was found in the water near to Man O’ War beach.

He was found at around 12.35pm today. Local media reports say the man was from London.

A polise spokesman said: "While the body is yet to be formally identified, it is believed to be that of the man who went missing while swimming at Durdle Door.

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"His family has been informed and the coroner has been notified."

A man called 999 at 5.47pm on Sunday, June 21 and said his brother "had gone under the water and disappeared while swimming near Durdle Door", the Coastguard said.

Two rescue helicopters were sent to help with the search.

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Chief Inspector Stu Pitman, of Dorset Police, said: “Our thoughts are with the family and friends of the man at this very difficult time.

“I would like to thank everyone involved for the prompt and co-ordinated multi-agency search effort and those members of the public who assisted in sharing our appeal.”

The man was reported to have been swimming with two other people when he got into difficulty and did not return to the shore.

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Crowds have flocked to beaches and cliffs at Durdle Door over the past few months as lockdown restrictions were lifted.

At the end of last month, three people suffered serious injuries at the Dorset beauty spot after leaping from the top of the limestone arch, which is 200ft high.

Thousands of people were evacuated from the beach and surrounding cliff area to allow air ambulances to land.

A conservation charity said people have shown a "shocking" disregard for the area.

Vikki Slade, the leader of Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council, has written to local MPs and the chief constable of Dorset Police about the issue.

She said she had seen people not following social-distancing rules, parking illegally, starting barbecues in hot, dry conditions and staff are facing abuse.

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