Mystery surrounds death of man found on Portchester mudflats

BOAT YARD Wicormarine in Portchester near where a body of a man was found in the mud on Sunday.  Picture:  Sarah Standing (113073-2221)
BOAT YARD Wicormarine in Portchester near where a body of a man was found in the mud on Sunday. Picture: Sarah Standing (113073-2221)
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A MAN whose body was pulled out of mudflats is believed to have died in a tragic accident.

His body was discovered in Wicormarine boat yard, in Cranleigh Road, Portchester, on Sunday evening.

Local sources suggest the man was in the process of renovating his boat, which had been moored at the marina for some time.

A spokeswoman for HM Coastguard said: ‘The man was in the mud and was found to have suffered a head injury. It looks like he has had an accident and possibly fallen over the side of his boat.

‘We know he was working on a boat there and had been restoring it.

‘But we don’t know if he fell into the mud, or landed in the water and washed into the mud. Whatever happened, the most likely explanation is he fell victim to a tragic accident.’

A coastguard mud recovery team was called in to assist police, fire crews and the ambulance service with the retrieval of the body.

Using specialist rescue equipment they managed to extract his body from the mud in about an hour.

Once on the shore the man was formally pronounced dead before being taken to Queen Alexandra Hospital where a post-mortem examination is due to take place.

His death is not being treated as suspicious and investigations to find out how he got there are still going on.

Police have not yet revealed the identity of the boat-owner, but he is in his early 40s and believed to have lived in the Fareham area.

A spokeswoman for Hampshire Constabulary said: ‘We cannot identify the man until his family has been informed. They do not live locally so this may take longer than it usually would.’

She added that officers believe they have identified the man and he was seen talking to another member of the public, alive and well, on Saturday evening.

A boat owner who also uses the Wicormarine boat yard, and wished to remain anonymous, said: ‘My wife and I were there on Sunday night and when we heard we were shocked. It is just such an awful thing to happen to anybody, a real tragedy.

‘What a sad reminder that you have to be so careful when working on boats, even if they’re moored up.’