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Ferry Fall Woman Named by Police

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Sarah Fenton is believed to have fallen overboard
Sarah Fenton is believed to have fallen overboard

A woman believed to have fallen overboard from a ferry in the English Channel has been named by police as they appeal for information into her disappearance.

Sarah Fenton, from Fishponds, Bristol, was last seen by her husband at around 5.30pm on Sunday as they travelled on a Condor Rapide ferry from Guernsey to Poole.

The crew of the ferry, which was carrying 264 passengers, raised the alarm at 5.35pm after Ms Fenton was reported missing.

The British and French coastguard, as well as RNLI lifeboats from Alderney and Weymouth and a search plane from the Channel Islands, were last night searching the route of the ferry to find the 39-year-old but the search was suspended at 10pm and later called off.

Police in Poole, Dorset, are now seeking the public's help as they investigate her disappearance.

Detective Inspector Becky Riggs said: "Sarah's family are very concerned about her and we are investigating the circumstances surrounding her disappearance.

"I am appealing to anyone who may have seen Sarah on board the ferry to contact me urgently. Anyone with information should call us as soon as possible."

The ferry had departed Jersey at 2.30pm before travelling to Guernsey. It left for Poole at 4.15pm.

Nigel Robson, Portland Coastguard watch manager, said: "We have searched the route of the ship and the areas where our search planning expertise indicate a person might have been carried by the tide.

"Sadly, we have found no-one."

A spokesman for Condor Ferries said: "At 5.35pm yesterday, crew were made aware of a possible missing person situation onboard Condor Rapide.

"The captain raised a Pan-Pan with the Coastguard and a full search was conducted of the vessel. The passenger was not located and the Pan-Pan was upgraded to a Mayday.

"Under the co-ordination of Portland Coastguard, a search was made in the area where the passenger was believed to have gone missing.

"Coastguard vessels from the Channel Islands, France and the UK were involved in the search, as was Condor Rapide.

"Condor Ferries staff are fully trained for such situations, and in line with maritime protocol passengers were asked to assist the crew in the search. Their help is much appreciated.

"At 7.43pm Portland Coastguard permitted Condor Rapide to leave the search and continue on to Poole. The search was ended by Portland Coastguard at 10pm."

Steve Bailey, Jersey director of Condor Ferries, added: "Our thoughts and sympathies are with the family and friends of the passenger at this difficult time.

"We will continue to work in close co-operation with all the authorities involved to ascertain the full circumstances."

Anyone with information is being urged to call Dorset Police on 101, quoting incident number 1:437.