Sea search sparked by empty boat

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COASTGUARDS spent hours searching the sea after fears someone had fallen out of a canoe.

A member of the public spotted the upturned vessel floating off Southsea on Saturday at 9.15pm.

Lifeboat crews searched the water for up to half a mile in all directions.

The canoe was badly battered but it was suspected that the damage had been caused some time ago.

By midnight the coastguard was satisfied there had not been anyone in the boat and that it had either been abandoned or vandalised and pushed out to sea.

Solent Coastguard watch manager Colin Griffiths said: 'They had a good look at the canoe and they searched the area but they couldn't find anything.'