A man has died after falling into the sea at Torquay last night.

A bid to resusitate the man after he fell into the ocean close to the pier by Torquay's Princess Theatre in heavy seas and 70mph winds failed.

A Torbay lifeboat crew member attached to the shore by a rope managed to pull the man from the rough seas.

An RNLI spokesman said the volunteer crew of the Torbay all-weather lifeboat Alec and Christina Dykes were launched at 8.07pm  (Tuesday 29 January) in "in extremely demanding conditions", to go to the aid of a man reported to be in the sea just off Princess Pier.

"The RNLI crew arrived on scene at 8.31pm and spotted the man face down in the heavy seas that had been whipped up by on-shore winds gusting to almost sixty knots. Coxswain Mark Criddle and his crew then had to prepare for a quick recovery. Fortunately it was high tide, but with still less than two metres of water under the keel of the lifeboat, Mark manoeuvred the 38 ton vessel close in to the sea wall, concentrating all the time on the rough seas and keeping the lifeboat just out of the breaking waves."


"Meanwhile, volunteer crewmember Ryan Bradfield, proprietor of the H20 Swimming Academy, donned his dry suit and entered the rough waters, attached to the lifeboat by a lanyard, to recover the casualty. His fellow crew members then assisted in getting them both back on to the lifeboat.

Local doctor and crewmember Alex Rowe and fellow crew member Michelle Fox started cardio pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) while  the lifeboat was moved away from the dangers of the shallow ground and the sea wall before heading off to rendezvous with a land ambulance team who were waiting at Haldon Pier.

The ambulance crew continued to provide casualty care for the man before transferring him to the ambulance for the onward journey to hospital. .

Stuart Elliman, RNLI volunteer lifeboat operations manager at Torbay, said: "The professionalism of Mark Criddle and his volunteer crew was absolutely first class as was the teamwork of all who took part."
The Torbay all-weather lifeboat was one of four RNLI lifeboats launched on Monday night to search for a lone fisherman who was reported as overdue in to harbour. His body was later recovered from the sea by lifeboat crews.

The man has not been identified.