THE four-year-old girl saved after being swept out to sea in Portsmouth said last night: ‘I‘m fine now.’
Destiny Butcher needed hospital treatment after being plucked from the Solent with a 10-year-old girl near the entrance to Portsmouth Harbour in a dramatic rescue.
One man who rushed to her aid made it back to shore.
But a 33-year-old man, named locally only as ‘Marco’ was last night still missing despite extensive searches by the by volunteer lifeboat crews, Coastguard helicopter, Ministry of Defence Police launch and emergency services.
Destiny, of Landguard Road, Eastney, Portsmouth, was discharged from Queen Alexandra Hospital, Cosham, yesterday.
The youngster was enjoying an afternoon on the beach with mum Natalie when she and the girl she was with were swept out to sea.
Destiny’s sister Hope, six, raised the alarm.
Destiny said: ‘I was in the sea and I slipped on some seaweed.
‘I fell in. I was helped. I’m fine now.’
Their dad Freedom Butcher, 27, married to wife Zoe, 26, said of his daughter’s rescuers: ‘They’re amazing.
‘They put their lives on the line and one of them hasn’t come back. I think they should get a bravery award.
‘I owe them my daughter’s life.’
Meanwhile, police probing the 33-year-old man’s disappearance confirmed a reported sighting of a body.
Officers received a call at 9pm on Thursday from a member of the public claiming to have seen a body near the harbour entrance.
The area was searched but by 5.40pm last night police said the man had not been found.
Inspector Phil Jones said: ‘No remains or items linked with the 33-year-old have been located so far.
‘Our Marine Unit remains on patrol along the coast near Portsmouth Harbour.
‘We are working closely alongside officers on board the Ministry of Defence Police launch.
‘Officers and staff from our Safer Neighbourhoods teams in coastal communities are on routine patrols along beaches and seafronts, looking for any signs of this man.’
Mr Butcher added: ‘They should close the beach. I don’t think it should be open for anyone.
‘There definitely needs to be a lifeguard there all the time.
‘As much as I feel happy I feel guilty to someone is missing.’
He added: ‘I’m devastated. I’m just amazed that Destiny’s okay.’
Witness tells of horror at watching man struggle
AN EYEWITNESS has told of her horror at seeing the 33-year-old missing hero pulled underwater near the entrance to Portsmouth Harbour.
Kay Brown’s husband David, 38, dialled 999 after the family heard screams for help near Tower Street, Old Portsmouth, at about 3.45pm on Thursday.
Mrs Brown, 38, said: ‘My husband could hear the screams for help. That’s when he dialled 999. We literally watched as he went under.
‘A ferry boat had just gone out so the waves were massive.
‘If anyone else had jumped in they would have suffered the same fate. It was horrendous.’
She added: ‘My daughter is only 12 and my nephew is 15 and they stood and watched that. They have been absolutely traumatised, as we all have. It was just absolute mayhem.
‘He was the hero in trying to help the girls who had got dragged away by the current.
‘But he must just have been totally overwhelmed by the current and the vastness of the water and it just dragged him under.’