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Missing teen 'unlikely to be alive'

PUBLISHED: 10:04 25 June 2008 | UPDATED: 11:17 03 July 2010

A Norwich teenager who has been missing at sea since Sunday is unlikely to be found alive, say those behind the search operation.

City College Norwich student Motar Abudeeb, 19, has not been seen since the dinghy he was in overturned in high winds off Britannia Pier on Sunday evening.

A Norwich teenager who has been missing at sea since Sunday is unlikely to be found alive, say those behind the search operation.

City College Norwich student Motar Abudeeb, 19, has not been seen since the dinghy he was in overturned in high winds off Britannia Pier on Sunday evening.

His 15-year-old brother, who was also in the dinghy, managed to get to shore safely and was taken to hospital.

It is believed Motar, who is studying engineering at the college, is not a strong swimmer, and neither brother was wearing a lifejacket.

Five lifeboats, an RAF search-and- rescue helicopter and two coastguard search teams spent Sunday evening and much of Monday scouring the sea and shoreline for the teenager.

The search mission involved checking sandbanks and also the bases of the wind turbines at Scroby Sands, in the hope that the teenager had managed to clamber on to one of the engineers' platforms.

However, coastguards admitted it was now “extremely unlikely” that he would be found alive.

Ian Haines, coastguard watch assistant, said: “The conditions are such that anything out there is not likely to come ashore until the wind has changed. We have moved on from a rescue phase to a recovery phase.”

The search operation began at about 5.45pm on Sunday after the inflatable dinghy, bought from a shop on the coast that day, over-turned. It has not yet been recovered.

Within hours of the incident the teenagers' parents travelled from their home in Victoria Street, Norwich, to Yarmouth.

Their father Habib Abudeeb, a carer, was too upset to talk but two family friends, who were with him, said Motar and his four brothers, aged from 12 to 21, had left home in Norwich on Sunday to spend the afternoon at the beach.

They said the group had bought a blue and white rubber inflatable dinghy from one of the seafront gift shops and had taken it to the water's edge before launching it.

Two of the brothers then jumped in and paddled out to sea, but at some stage the dinghy capsized and Motar was swept out to sea.

One of the friends said: “Everyone is in shock.”

The incident has prompted warnings from the coastguard about the dangers of going out to sea in inflatables.

There was widespread shock in the town over what had happened.

Sue Dimbleby, 44, of Copperfield Avenue, Yarmouth, said: “I have been in Yarmouth five years and I have never heard of anything like this. It's tragic.”

Terry Lee, 50, manager of the Playdeck fair at the bottom of the Britannia Pier, was packing up at about 5.40pm on Sunday when a girl asked him to ring the coastguard.

He said: “We could see the dinghy disappear into the distance. Through my binoculars I could see a young lad in the water swimming, but I did not see the other lad. He might have gone straight under.

“They were quite a way out to sea, towards the Scroby windfarm. I'm really shocked at what has happened. It was very windy on Sunday and I had to shut down some of my rides.”

It also emerged that an emergency station close to the scene had been vandalised. A lifebelt was missing and the cord to an emergency telephone had been cut. It is not known whether anyone had tried to use it when the inflatable capsized.

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