POLICE are investigating whether a body found floating in the sea off Hayling Island is that of a man who fell from a ferry into Portsmouth harbour on Sunday evening.
The body of a man was discovered washed up on the beach at Hayling Island, near the Funland arcade, by dog-walker Kevin Butler at about 2.45pm yesterday.
Mr Butler, 55, from Seafront, Hayling Island, made the discovery as he walked his friend’s Staffordshire bull terrier near beach huts.
He said: ‘All of a sudden I saw this image in the water, and I thought “what on earth could it be?”
‘The dog ran over to it and as I got closer to the water’s edge I could see this figure bobbing up and down. It was a man with a duffle coat on.
‘He was moving with the waves near to the shore, he only travelled a distance of 10 yards or so whilst I was there. He was coming in with the tide.
‘I was just in a complete state of shock. I had all this adrenaline pumping through me and I was pretty emotional at the thought that this was a dead man’s body.’
Mr Butler, a former construction worker, then enlisted the help of a male passer-by who dialled emergency services.
Police and medics arrived 20 minutes later and removed the body from the water before taking him away in an ambulance.
Kevin added: ‘The whole time I kept thinking how he must have been alive because the waves made it out like he was moving.’
George Peak, 20, who works at Hayling Island Amusement Park, said: ‘I was in the arcade when I suddenly heard loads of sirens and police cars flying down to the seafront.’
Marshall Hill, 49, owner of Funland, said: ‘It’s an awful way to go.
‘You really have to feel for the man’s family and friends.’
At 6.30pm on Sunday a man fell from the St Clare Wightlink ferry as it passed the Square and the Round towers in Portsmouth harbour. He was heard shouting for help and a five-hour search was carried out.
A police spokeswoman confirmed a body had been found and said: ‘Police are working to identify the man and the circumstances surrounding his death. The death is not being treated as suspicious at this stage.’