Kayaker Search Volunteers Urged To Avoid Dangerous Areas

7 February 2017, 17:13 | Updated: 7 February 2017, 19:28

Dominic Jackson

Volunteers helping in the search for a missing kayaker have been warned to scale back checks in dangerous areas of coastline as bad weather sweeps in.

Dominic Jackson, 35, was reported missing on Sunday night after he failed to return from a sea kayaking trip in Portsoy, on the north coast of Aberdeenshire.

Police Scotland launched a major operation and around 30 local volunteers joined the search on Tuesday, but officers have asked them to "consider other ways in which they can offer support to Dominic's family and friends at this terrible time''.

A kayak believed to belong to Mr Jackson has been recovered from the sea off the Caithness coast, while safety equipment and a paddle has also been spotted in the water.

Mr Jackson's sister Ellie remains hopeful he will be found and believes he could be trapped at the foot of a cliff waiting for help.

Police divers and helicopter teams are planning a third day of searches on Wednesday despite the forecast of severe weather.

Inspector Ewan Strachan said: "More than 30 volunteers have turned out to assist with coastal searches today despite the weather, and I cannot stress enough how much this has been appreciated.

"Moving forward, our search must focus at sea and immediate areas of the coastline - an operation which must be tackled by a highly specialist search team given the dangers and challenges of these terrains.

"These officers are trained in certain techniques and will be designated to specific areas as we enter our third day of this operation and continue to battle severe weather conditions.

"Our main priority is the public's safety and as such I would urge volunteers to consider other ways in which they can offer support to Dominic's family and friends at this terrible time.

"By no means does this mean we are scaling back our search - in fact our search now becomes more intensive - however we need the right people in the right places to give us the best possible chance.''

Mr Jackson had travelled north from his home in Fettercairn, south Aberdeenshire, on Friday.

His sister, who lives in Australia, said: "I'm very hopeful. The scenario in my head is he has become separated from the boat which has been carried away by the wind.

"He will have turned round, come into the seashore and ended up on a secluded beach somewhere, then decided to climb up a cliff and then fallen and is lying at the base of a cliff injured, perhaps with a broken leg.

"He can't move to a visible spot and is waiting for rescuers, that's my working theory.''

She said her brother, who runs a gardening business in the Laurencekirk area, is fit and active and although quite new to sea kayaking, he is a surfer and a climber.

Mr Jackson's father and three of his five siblings joined the search in the Portsoy area on Monday.

The family is originally from Uckfield near Brighton but Mr Jackson has lived in Aberdeenshire for around 13 years.

Police said the last confirmed sighting of Mr Jackson was on Saturday morning between 10.30am and 11am in the Cullen area.

Mr Strachan added: "Several people have come forward so far, however I would like to appeal to any other kayakers who were in that area at the time and may have seen Mr Jackson to please get in touch, no matter how insignificant you think your information might be.''