French Crew Return Home After Sailor Disappears off Normandy Coast

Photo: Channel Islands Air Search

Photo: Channel Islands Air Search

Mystery still surrounds the disappearance of a French sailor who fell overboard at the weekend from a yacht off the north west coast of Normandy.

Rene Morvan, aged 63, is said to have fallen off the Le Jouvente in the early hours of Sunday morning near the Channel island of Guernsey.

But his crew mates have been questioned by police and bailed after they failed to radio for help and only told the coastguard what had happened fours hours after the incident. But an air and sea rescue failed to find the missing man.

The three remaining crew members, including skipper Nicolas Hommey, have been interviewed by Police and released on bail and have now returned to France. Both the French and British police are liaising with authorities on the island and the yacht has been detained for examination.

The crew told police that they had been on their way from Dartmouth on the south coast of England to Binic in Brittany where they are based when they encountered bad weather. Mr Hommey said that they threw a rope when they heard Mr Morvan shout for help but a strong wave tossed him beneath the boat. They could hear no further shouts and the yacht had to move out away from approaching rocks.

It was not until the arrived at St Peter Port in Guernsey that they notified the authorities. ‘It is the first time in my career that a crew has alerted us to a crew member being missing four hours after the event,’ said deputy harbour master Tony Pattimore.

‘Why didn’t they use their VHF radio which was in perfect working condition? We could have been there within an hour,’ he added.

Mr Morvan had been wearing a lifejacket when he fell overboard but there has been no sign of him despite the sea and air search involving a Channel Islands Air Search plane, Guernsey Ambulance and Rescue and Guernsey Police.

About Ray Clancy

Ray Clancy has 20 years experience in journalism including contributing articles to print and on-line publications such as, Property World Middle East and websites for estate agents. She has also written for the Daily Telegraph and Mail on Sunday.

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