Tributes To Diver Missing Off Swanage

Friends are paying tribute to an experienced and 'dedicated' diver - who's gone missing in the Channel off Dorset.

Andy Moll, from Taunton in Somerset, did not resurface after a dive to a wreck near Swanage on Sunday afternoon (24 May).

Mr Moll was one of a party of three divers from the Bristol-based Severnside Sub-Aqua Club and was one of the country's most experienced divers, with more than 30 years' experience.

He failed to resurface while diving with two others from the boat Emma J off Swanage and the emergency services were alerted.

The search, which involved the coastguard helicopters from Portland and Lee-on-Solent - and lifeboats from Poole and Swanage - covered an area of 10 nautical miles before being suspended on Sunday night.

Leon Smith, chairman of Severnside SAC, paid tribute to Mr Moll.

``We are immensely grateful for the dedication and professionalism of the Coastguard staff and RNLI Swanage and RNLI Poole volunteers who assisted those club members on the dive and undertook an extensive air and sea search of the area,'' he said.

``I understand that this search has now been called off and Andy has officially been reported to the police as missing.

``Andy's family have been informed of these terrible circumstances. Andy has been a long-standing, active, and well-respected member of the diving community for over 30 years.

``He has been a dedicated supporter of the British Sub-Aqua Club and a buddy, instructor, and a good personal friend to a great many members of Severnside SAC.

``Everyone who knows Andy is truly devastated by recent events and our thoughts and concerns are with his family and all those involved.

``We trust that the diving community will respect the privacy of his family and friends as they deal with this great tragedy.

``The family have asked that fellow divers show their respects by avoiding speculation as to the circumstances of this incident whilst official inquiries are ongoing.''

Mr Moll also served nationally with the British Sub-Aqua Club (BSAC) and had been an instructor trainer.

Mary Tetley, chief executive of the BSAC, said:

``Andy Moll was a very experienced diver and a good friend of mine for many years.

``He worked with me on the BSAC Council and also previously served for a time as the honorary secretary of BSAC.

``He was full of passion and enthusiasm and the BSAC, and had a true love of scuba diving, and all that went with it.

``Andy was also a real family man and our thoughts and sincere condolences go out to them, in particular his wife Elaine and four daughters.

``Andy will be truly missed by his BSAC club where he had so many friends, and the wider BSAC family.''

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency suspended the search for Mr Moll on Sunday and said it had decided not to resume the search the following day. He remains missing.

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