THE search for missing Clacton teenager Ben Quartermaine has been suspended after a body was found.

Clacton RNLI were involved in the desperate hunt, in the waters off Clacton Pier, for close to 24 hours.

Coastguards, lifeboat crews, police, paramedics and the coastguard's search and rescue helicopter were called to the scene at about 6.20pm on Thursday.

It is understood that Ben and a friend got into difficulty while swimming in waters to the east of the pier, but his friend was rescued thanks to pier staff and Clacton RNLI.

Clacton and Frinton Gazette:

  • Missing - Ben Quartermaine

Ben's cousin had Soph Quartermaine appealed for anyone with information to come forward - and thanked all those who have searched for him.

She said: "Thank you all. I wish I could thank you all individually but I'm drained.


"All I have to say right now is the emergency services have done the best that they can tonight. The search has been called off until the morning."

Clacton and Frinton Gazette:

  • Scene - a lifeboat searches next to Clacton Pier

One witness, who asked not to be named, said he saw two boys struggling in the water close to the pier.

He said: "Pier staff were trying to throw liferings out into the water from the pier, but I could only see that one lad could get hold.

"The current seemed to have them.

"It was horrible to see."

Clacton and Frinton Gazette:

Another onlooker said: "The staff at the pier were throwing a lifering out to a boy, but the wind was blowing in the wrong direction.

"After a couple of failed attempts they got it to him, and kept hold of the other end of the rope as the current took him under the pier. They saved his life.

"A lifeboat came shortly afterwards and he was taken to the otherside of the pier, to West Beach, and then handed over to paramedics.

"It appeared that they were still searching for another boy and the helicopter was circling over head.

"I'm just praying that he will be OK.

"There were quite a few people looking on in horror from the pier, close to where the helter skelter is. We're all in shock."

It is understood that the rescued boy was given treatment by paramedics at the scene.

Clacton’s Atlantic class lifeboat was already out on call at the time of the incident, having been called to the aid of a yacht that had run aground in the river Colne at 5.40pm.

A spokesman for the crew added: “While further crew members were awaiting their return, the pagers sounded again, this time to a person in the water at Clacton Pier.

“Due to crew being on station Clacton’s D class was launched within two minutes with two crew members aboard.

“On arrival on scene there was a male holding on to a life ring that had been thrown down from the pier.

“Shouts from the pier indicated there was another male in the water.

“The D Class made a rapid search of the area indicated, but there were concerns the male that was holding on to the ring was losing their grip.

“The crew pulled them aboard the lifeboat and landed them on the beach to an awaiting ambulance before returning to the search.

“The Atlantic lifeboat was called back leaving one crew member aboard the grounded vessel to await Mersea’s lifeboat to complete the recovery.

“All available shore crew were also requested to help with the search around and under the pier alongside the coastguard mobile units and those of the ambulance service.

“The crews were stood down at 11pm to restart the search again at 5am this morning making best use of a low tide, both lifeboats searched alongside shore crew and the coastguard mobile unit until 8am.

“The search for the missing male continues.”

A spokesman for the HM Coastguard said they received a 999 call from a member of the public just before 6.20pm on Thursday, saying that two boys were in difficulty in the water near Clacton Pier.

He added: "One boy was recovered from the water by the lifeboat, he was checked over for medical assessment before being reunited with his family.

"The second boy remains unaccounted for.

"The search for a missing teenager, last seen in the water near Clacton Pier, Essex has continued this morning.

"Coastguard Rescue Teams from Clacton and Walton and the two Clacton lifeboats are currently searching the area, Essex Police are also on scene."

A spokesman for Clacton RNLI said crews returned to the scene at 4.30am on Friday to continue the search.

Essex Police said officers were called to concerns for the welfare of two teenage boys near to Clacton Pier and arrived at the scene just after 6.35pm.

Clacton MP Giles Watling said: "Our beach patrols, lifeboat crews, police, air ambulance and coastguards are the finest and I’m certain that they’ll do everything in their power to find the missing boy.

"My thoughts are with his family and hoping for a positive outcome.

"Our coast is naturally very attractive in this kind of weather, but it must always be remembered that the sea, whilst looking so benign, can still be a very dangerous place indeed."