Mystery yachtsman search called off

Hany Nabil Mustapha 46, from Kingston-upon-Thames, south-west London, has gone missing from his yacht (Dorset Police/PA)

Hany Nabil Mustapha 46, from Kingston-upon-Thames, south-west London, has gone missing from his yacht (Dorset Police/PA)

First published in National News © by

A large-scale air, land and sea search for the skipper of a yacht found beached with its engine still running but with no one on board has been called off.

No sign of the man, named by police as 46-year-old Hany Nabil Mustapha, has been found.

A member of the public discovered his vessel, called Brigand, ashore with one of its sails up near Brighstone on the Isle of Wight.

Mr Mustapha, from Kingston-upon-Thames, south-west London, bought the small yacht in a private sale on Saturday morning and sailed from Poole Yacht Club in Dorset, where it was moored, at 10.05am the same day.

Dorset Police said that Mr Mustapha told staff at the yacht club that he intended to travel over to Hayling Island, near Portsmouth.

But following the discovery of his grounded yacht at 5.15pm on Saturday, a five-hour search was launched involving two Coastguard helicopters and RNLI lifeboats, while broadcasts were made to passing vessels to be alert to objects in the water. Despite the extensive operation, no sign of anyone was found and it was called off, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) said.

A Solent Coastguard spokesman said: "The search has been suspended but if we get any new information that prompts us to an area then we will recommence a search."

Police have released images of the yacht and of Mr Mustapha who was last seen wearing a white sailing jacket, sunglasses and a hat.

Coastguards have urged people about to set out to sea to ensure they are familiar with their boat and equipment, have proper training and ensure their crew wear well-maintained and correctly fitting lifejackets.

Mr Mustapha is described as being around 6ft 3in tall, of mid-European appearance with a stocky build. He has short, dark receding hair and a goatee beard. Anyone with information about his whereabouts is asked to call Dorset Police on 101.

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