Lone Channel swimmer is found by passing vessel after eight-hour search just 500 yards into his planned 27-mile swim from Dover to Calais
- Person called the coastguard to report friend was attempting the swim alone
- Helicopter and rescue boats dispatched to the dangerous shipping lanes at noon
- Passing vessel picked the man up at around 8pm, just 15 minutes before dusk
- He’d managed to make it 500 yards off Dover, cold and tired, but otherwise well
- Do YOU know the Channel swimmer? Email firstname.lastname@example.org
A solo English Channel swimmer who sparked an eight-hour search has been picked up by a passing vessel just 500 yards into his planned 27 mile swim from Dover to Calais.
A helicopter and rescue boats were dispatched to the sea off Kent after the coastguard received a call from a member of the public saying a friend was trying to cross to France.
The rescue operation started just after midday and continued until nearly 8pm on Sunday, when the swimmer was spotted by a passing vessel.
When found, he was cold and tired but otherwise well, the coastguard confirmed.
An RNLI life boat and helicopter in the English Channel (stock image)
The search for the solo Channel swimmer began shortly after midday. He was picked up by a passing vessel at around 8pm having made it just 500 yards out of Dover
He has been brought to shore and will be checked over by ambulance staff.
The incident was not related to migrant crossings.
A coastguard spokesperson said: ‘At around 12.10pm today HM Coastguard received a call from a member of the public with information that their friend was swimming unaccompanied to Calais from Dover.
‘Coastguard rescue teams from Deal and Langdon, RNLI lifeboats from Dover and Dungness and coastguard search and rescue helicopters from Lydd and Lee-on-Solent were sent.
‘Vessels in the area were asked to keep a sharp lookout and Kent Police, Dover Port Police and Dover Port were informed.
‘The swimmer was spotted shortly before 8pm by a passing vessel only 500 metres off Dover and was taken onboard the RNLI Dungeness lifeboat, cold and tired but otherwise well.
‘He has been brought to shore and will be checked over by South East Ambulance Service.’
Air temperatures in Dover on Monday afternoon were about 17C with winds of up to 10mph, according to the Met Office.
The fastest ever swim across the Channel is a little over seven hours and across the shortest route, measured at 21 miles, great care and planning must be undertaken to avoid colossal cargo vessels.