West Midlands firefighter Iain Hughes goes missing during charity swim in English Channel

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West Midlands firefighter Iain Hughes is still missing despite a huge search effort from French and Belgian authorities

The search for a West Midlands firefighter who has gone missing while swimming the English Channel for charity has been called off.

Iain Hughes, a crew manager at Wednesburyfire station, went missing in the water following his attempt to swim the Channel on Tuesday (June 20). French authorities have confirmed the search for the father-of-two has now ended following an extensive operation.

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A statement from the West Midlands Fire Service, said: “We are heartbroken to confirm that one of our Crew Managers, Iain Hughes, is missing after his inspiring attempt to swim the English Channel for charity. Iain, based at Wednesbury fire station with our Technical Rescue Unit, began his attempt yesterday morning, accompanied by a support boat.

“Yesterday evening, we learned that Iain had been missing for several hours .In spite of search efforts involving French and Belgian military helicopters, plus navy and police patrol boats, Iain’s whereabouts remain unknown.”

Chief Fire Officer, Wayne Brown, added: “Iain’s disappearance is unspeakably sad. We are giving Iain’s family all the support we can at this distressing time.“Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and everyone close to Iain. He is a highly-respected and much-loved colleague and friend to many.”

Iain, whose 43rd birthday falls next month (July), had trained for nearly two years for his cross-Channel charity swim, the West Midlands Fire Service said. Married with two children, he was raising funds for The Fire Fighters Charity, British Heart Foundation and Midlands Air Ambulance.

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Iain joined West Midlands Fire Service in 1999, at the age of 19. He was posted to Bournbrook fire station, and later served at Billesley, Tipton, Wolverhampton, Tettenhall, Bilston, Brierley Hill and Stourbridge. He was promoted to Crew Manager in 2016 and joined our Technical Rescue Unit in 2022.

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