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Relief as man, 75, found by police drone on beach 24 hours after last seen

A helicopter at Titchwell marsh, where a 75-year-old man was rescued after being missing for 24 hours. Picture: Archant staff

A helicopter at Titchwell marsh, where a 75-year-old man was rescued after being missing for 24 hours. Picture: Archant staff

Archant

A major search for a missing man came to a successful close after a police drone spotted the 75-year-old on a Norfolk beach almost 24 hours after he was last seen.

A helicopter at Titchwell marsh, where a 75-year-old man was rescued having been missing for 24 hours. Picture: Archant staffA helicopter at Titchwell marsh, where a 75-year-old man was rescued having been missing for 24 hours. Picture: Archant staff

Emergency services had been alerted by a relative that the man was missing on Saturday, after he was last seen at about 5.10pm walking from Brancaster towards Titchwell.

It saw the coastguard scramble the Hunstanton and Wells rescue teams, with the Hunstanton RNLI saying the teams searched in heavy rain.

A Coastguard search and rescue team was also involved, along with Norfolk police officers, but it was stopped just before 2am, with the man having to spend the night outside.

It resumed a few hours later on Sunday morning and, on Sunday afternoon, almost 24 hours after he was last seen, a police drone spotted the man in a thick reed bed.

Brancaster Staithe. Picture: Ian BurtBrancaster Staithe. Picture: Ian Burt

It is understood he had become trapped at Titchwell marsh, with search and rescue teams sent to recover him and both land and air ambulances rushed to the scene.

Inspector Lou Provart, tactical firearms commander and incident manager for Norfolk police, said on Twitter: “A welcome conclusion to a long and difficult search. Technology in our new drones once again proving its worth.”

He thanked those involved in the search - the Norfolk Lowlands Search and Rescue group, which scoured the surrounding area, the coastguard, ambulance service, air ambulance and Norfolk fire and rescue service.

The Maritime and Coastguard agency said it had been an “extensive search”.

A helicopter pictured at Titchwell Marsh on Sunday, where a 75-year-old missing man was found by a police drone. Picture: Archant staffA helicopter pictured at Titchwell Marsh on Sunday, where a 75-year-old missing man was found by a police drone. Picture: Archant staff

Police could not confirm the man’s condition on Sunday evening, but said he had been airlifted to hospital to be assessed.

Last year, police trialled two drones for the first time, and, after a successful three-month pilot, doubled their coverage to four in February.

It was a move followed by the county’s firefighters earlier this month, with a £250,000 drone unveiled by the fire and rescue service.

There was praise for the move on social media, one person on our Facebook page said: “Sobering to think that without the drone things might have been much different.”

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