British diver 70 ex Armed Forces missing off coast of Spain Cabo de Palos

Police divers located the body of Phillip Evans on day two of a major sea and air search late on Friday

Police divers located the body of Phillip Evans on day two of a major sea and air search late on Friday

Police divers located the body of Phillip Evans on day two of a major sea and air search late on Friday

A British diver who disappeared on off the coast of south eastern Spain has been found dead.

Police divers located the body of Phillip Evans, 69, on day two of a major sea and air search late on Friday near a marine reserve called Hormigas Islands – Islas Hormigas in Spain.

The find was confirmed by Francisco Jimenez, a central government delegate for the region, who said: ‘The body of the British diver who disappeared on Thursday has been located 170 feet underwater in the Hormigas Islands area.

‘We regret this tragic outcome.’

A local dive school raised the alarm around midday on Thursday after former Armed Forces veteran Mr Evans, from Balmedie, Aberdeenshire, disappeared.

Two helicopters were immediately mobilised as part of a major air and sea search which included vessels belonging to the Spanish Navy, coastguards and Red Cross.

Expert Civil Guard divers, who ended up finding 69-year-old Mr Evans’ body, were also brought in.

A regional government representative for the area said shortly after the alarm was raised: ‘All the state’s resources have been activated in the search for this British national, a former member of the military who disappeared while he was diving north of the Hormigas Islands in Cabo de Palos.’

A helicopter search was launched after Mr Evans, 69, disappeared earlier this week

A helicopter search was launched after Mr Evans, 69, disappeared earlier this week

A helicopter search was launched after Mr Evans, 69, disappeared earlier this week

Mr Evans’s body is already thought to have been brought ashore, although there was no immediate confirmation this morning from local authorities.

The Briton is understood to have been an experienced diver. He praised the dive school he was on an excursion with – Club de Buceo Islas Hormigas dive school – on Facebook after a trip with them in 2017.

He called them the ‘friendliest club in the area’ and said he had dived with them for many years. 

A local investigating judge is now expected to be tasked with a probe into the circumstances surrounding Mr Evans’ death.

Officials had admitted yesterday the chances of finding the Scot alive were slim.

A neighbour of the missing man in Balmedie was quoted as saying: ‘It’s a terrible shame. None of us round here can believe it, really.

‘We’re all just in absolute shock, it’s awful.’

Cabo de Palos is next to the popular holiday destination of La Manga, around 20 miles from the town of Cartagena.

Members of the Spanish Coastguard are pictured surveying a stretch of sea off Cabo de Palos on the country's southern coast

Members of the Spanish Coastguard are pictured surveying a stretch of sea off Cabo de Palos on the country's southern coast

Members of the Spanish Coastguard are pictured surveying a stretch of sea off Cabo de Palos on the country’s southern coast 

It is popular with scuba diving fans as its sea bed is one of the most important nature reserves in the Mediterranean.

Hormigas Islands are two and a half miles from the coast. The sea bed there is considered one of the best scuba diving sites in Spain and has been designated an Integral Marine Reserve for its beauty and excellent state of conservation.

As well as the remains of shipwrecks and sunken boats, it is also home to reefs and deep underwater corral.

Mr Evans is believed to have been part of a diving school in Cabo de Palos, near Cartagena, and the group lost contact with him after he was last seen near a marine reserve called the Hormigas Islands. 

A Spanish Coastguard spokesman confirmed two helicopters had been taking turns to search for the diver along with a Red Cross boat and two other Coastguard vessels.

One of the vessels was being used to drop a remote operated vehicle participating in the search. 

A Spanish Coastguard spokesman had previously said: ‘We were alerted at eight minutes past midday today.

Cabo de Palos (pictured) is next to the popular Spanish holiday destination of La Manga, around 20 miles from the town of Cartagena

Cabo de Palos (pictured) is next to the popular Spanish holiday destination of La Manga, around 20 miles from the town of Cartagena

Cabo de Palos (pictured) is next to the popular Spanish holiday destination of La Manga, around 20 miles from the town of Cartagena

‘The missing man is a British ex-member of the Armed Forces aged 70. A Civil Guard and Coastguard helicopter are taking turns to search for him.

‘Two Coastguard vessels and a Red Cross boat are also involved. A remote operated vehicle has been dropped from one of our vessels and it is currently searching at 40 metres below the sea surface.

‘A call has gone out to any Spanish Navy vessels in the area to help out as well if they can.’ 

A regional government spokesman added: ‘All the state’s resources have been activated in the search for this British national, a former member of the military aged 70 who disappeared while he was diving north of the Hormigas Islands in Cabo de Palos.’ 

Cabo de Palos is next to the popular holiday destination of La Manga, around 20 miles from the town of Cartagena.

It is popular with scuba diving fans as its sea bed is one of the most treasured nature reserves in the Mediterranean.

Hormigas Islands are two and a half miles from the coast. 

The sea bed there is considered one of the best scuba diving sites in Spain and has been designated an Integral Marine Reserve for its beauty and excellent state of conservation.

As well as the remains of shipwrecks and sunken boats, it is also home to reefs and deep underwater corral.

Link hienalouca.com

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