COUNTY NEWS: Family have strong hope of finding Sussex kayaker

A major search operation is underway for missing kayaker Dominic Jackson. SUS-170802-112440001
A major search operation is underway for missing kayaker Dominic Jackson. SUS-170802-112440001

The family of missing Sussex kayaker say they have ‘strong hope’ he will be found safely as a major search operation continues on the Scottish coast.

Dominic Jackson, a 35-year-old gardener was reported missing on Sunday (February 5) after he failed to return from a sea-kayaking trip at Portsoy, Aberdeenshire.

A major search operation is underway for missing kayaker Dominic Jackson. SUS-170802-112429001

A major search operation is underway for missing kayaker Dominic Jackson. SUS-170802-112429001

During the search, which enters its third day today (Wednesday), teams scouring the coastline have recovered what is believed to be Mr Jackson’s kayak. It was taken from the water near Wick, a town which is around 50 miles from where he was believed to have set out from.

A spokesman for the family said: “Dom’s family have a very strong hope that Dom will be found safely - one potential scenario is that Dom has been kayaking close inshore and somehow become separated from his kayak and for whatever reason the kayak has been carried out to sea away from him.

“Recognising to swim after the kayak would be pointless, he has decided to head for shore where he finds himself stranded at the base of steep cliffs. He has attempted to climb the cliffs to safety but has had an accident and now lies injured at the base of the cliffs awaiting rescue.

“He had the correct clothing on him to stay warm and we are focusing on this as the best possible outcome for Dom.”

Originally from Uckfield but now living in the Scottish town of Laurenckirk, Mr Jackson is described as being ‘exceptionally fit and healthy’ and is a marathon runner as well as a keen climber and surfer.

Members of his family, including his father Jeremy and brother Stuart, travelled to Scotland on Sunday night to assist with the search.

On Tuesday (February 7), Inspector Ewan Strachan of Police Scotland said: “More than 30 volunteers have turned out to assist with coastal searches today despite the weather, and I cannot stress enough how much this has been appreciated.

“It also comes as no surprise given the community spirit in the area and the strength of feeling of wanting Dominic to be found.

“Moving forward, our search must focus at sea and immediate areas of the coastline, an operation which must be tackled by a highly specialist search team given the dangers and challenges of these terrains.

“These officers are trained in certain techniques and will be designated to specific areas as we enter our third day of this operation and continue to battle severe weather conditions.

“Our main priority is the public’s safety and as such I would urge volunteers to consider other ways in which they can offer support to Dominic’s family and friends at this terrible time.”

Don’t miss out on all the latest breaking news where you live.

Here are four ways you can be sure you’ll be amongst the first to know what’s going on.

1) Make our website your homepage

2) Like our Facebook page

3) Follow us on Twitter

4) Register with us by clicking on ‘sign in’ (top right corner). You can then receive our daily newsletter AND add your point of view to stories that you read here.

And do share with your family and friends - so they don’t miss out!

Always the first with your local news.

Be part of it.