Update: Hopes fade for missing Bideford yachtswoman

21:49 15 October 2012

Coastguard rescue officers from North Cornwall and North Devon will conduct a shoreline search for the missing yachtswoman.

Coastguard rescue officers from North Cornwall and North Devon will conduct a shoreline search for the missing yachtswoman.

Archant

Discovery of wreckage in Cornish waters thought to be that of the boat purchased by 65-year-old solo skipper.

COASTGUARD teams searching for a missing Bideford yachtswoman have discovered the wreckage of a yacht in Cornish waters.

An investigation is under way to establish whether the boat is that of 65-year-old Ona Mary Unwin, who has not been seen or heard of since leaving Mousehole at 6.30pm on Saturday.

A large-scale air and sea search involving at least three RNLI lifeboats, Coastguard rescue teams and search and rescue helicopters from RNAS Culdrose and RAF Chivenor was launched at first light this morning (Monday).

At lunchtime, Falmouth Coastguard discovered debris, thought to be that of the missing yacht Seagair in Sennen Cove near Lands End.

Later this afternoon, the coastguard confirmed the search for the solo skipper had been called off.

Mrs Unwin is understood to have bought the £32,000 31ft yacht in Falmouth on Thursday. She sailed to Mousehole in her newly-purchased vessel on Friday and set off for Bideford, apparently against advice of local sailors, on Saturday evening.

She would have charted a course around Lands End and back along the North Cornwall and North Devon coast but the alarm was raised when she failed to make contact with relatives as expected.

Steve Huxley, search and rescue communications manager, Falmouth Coastguard said: “The woman departed Mousehole on Saturday evening onboard her newly purchased vessel.

“We understand that she was heading for Bideford. We have been unable to find her and are very concerned for her safety.”

Members of the public who may have seen or heard from the skipper of the Seagair should contact Falmouth Coastguard on 01326 317575.

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