Missing Hollie McClymont: Barry Island sea search suspended by coastguards

Hollie McClymont was last seen on Sunday afternoon

The family of a missing 14-year-old girl last seen in difficulty in the sea at a south Wales resort have said they are "worried sick".

Hollie McClymont, on holiday with her family from Glasgow, was reported missing at Barry Island just after 15:45 BST on Sunday.

Coastguards carried out an "extensive" air and sea search off Whitmore Bay on Sunday but it was suspended on Monday.

Hollie had been visiting Barry Island with her mother Sarah and family.

Her cousin Shannon said: "You never ever think something like this will happen to someone in your family.

Start Quote

We just hope that if she is found it will be alive and on land. It is now a police missing persons investigation”

End Quote David Jones Swansea Coastguard

"We're worried sick and really hope Hollie turns up safe and sound."

The search resumed on Monday involving Barry and Penarth coastguard teams, police officers and the force helicopter.

But on Monday evening Swansea Coastguard confirmed they had concluded their search.

'Jam-packed' beach

David Jones, the duty watch manager at Swansea Coastguard, said: "Basically, at the moment, the coastguard has completed the low water search so from our point of view we have now suspended searching and formally handed over to South Wales Police.

"We have exhausted efforts searching the sea. There is nothing to suggest that she was in the water and nothing to suggest she was not in the water.

"As far as we are concerned the sea search element of the operation is complete."

He added: "We just hope that if she is found it will be alive and on land. It is now a police missing persons investigation."

Location map

South Wales Police said the last sighting of Hollie was in the sea at around 14:45 BST on Sunday in the part of the bay nearest the Island Leisure Amusement arcade, Western Shelter.

Supt Marc Lamerton said he was "keen to hear from anyone who may have seen Hollie yesterday".

Police have also been handling out leaflets about Hollie to holidaymakers visiting Barry Island.

Earlier they revealed they were also carrying out house-to-house inquiries in Barry.

On Sunday, Barry coastguard team, the Barry Dock all-weather lifeboat, two inshore lifeboats from Penarth, police, lifeguards and a coastguard helicopter from Portland were involved in the land and sea search.

Police said the incident had been reported to a police community support officer (PCSO) patrolling Barry Island.

Coastguards said it was up to an hour before the situation was reported to them.

Coastguard team at Whitmore Bay, Barry Island Coastguard teams were searching the area at low water on Monday

David Hughes, watch manager at Swansea Coastguard, told BBC Radio Wales on Monday he was surprised that more people had not alerted them to an incident on a "jam-packed" beach.

"We only had one call reporting this female in difficulties which I find very very hard to believe," he said.

"On a normal day, busy day, we would have expected to be inundated with 999 calls but only the one call put through unfortunately."

Mr Hughes also said the nature of the rescue effort had also changed.

"The conditions yesterday would have been favourable," he said.

"The sea temperature had picked up dramatically over the last month or so because of the weather, change in temperature, but obviously we have to look at survivability."

Local councillor Steffan Wiliam, who lives on Barry Island, said he was "very concerned" to hear the news.

"Our stretch of coast has the world's second highest tidal range, second only to the Bay of Fundy [in Canada]," he said.

"The main issue is that Whitmore Bay is a pocket shape. You have to be careful but it is generally very safe, particularly now we have lifeguards.

"If you swim between the two strips of flags you should be fine. You always have to be sensible on the beaches here."

Hollie is described as 5ft 7ins (1.7m) tall, of average build with long black hair.

She was last seen wearing a multi-coloured dress, short at the front and longer at the back.

South Wales Police said anyone with information can contact 101 or 01656 655 555.

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