COUNTY NEWS: Vulnerable hospital patient rescued by coastguard
A vulnerable hospital patient was rescued by the coastguard following a major search organised by police.
A Sussex Police spokesperson said they were called at just before 5.20pm yesterday following reports that a high-risk female patient was missing from Worthing Hospital.
Officers were deployed and did an initial search of the area, before the coastguard was contacted at around 6.30pm.
Ground units and the coastguard helicopter were deployed, which did a thorough search of Worthing beach and the surrounding coastline.
According to the police spokesperson, the woman was found at just before 10.30pm outside the Mermaid Café in Lancing, between two beach huts.
The woman was returned to Worthing Hospital.
The police spokesperson confirmed the woman was 42-year-old Tracy Simmonds, who was the subject of an earlier police witness appeal to find her whereabouts.
During the sea search, the coastguard discovered a man and a woman in their late teens to early twenties who had decided to go for a late-night swim on Christmas Day.
There were concerns for their safety due to large waves, but they assured police that they were okay, the spokesperson said.
Kaines Beasley, maritime operations controller for the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, said: “Police were the lead organisation of this operation and we were working in support of them.”
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