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Lake search resumes for missing Kent triathlete

Published 31/08/2015

The search includes police, the fire service, Kent Search and Rescue Team and the National Police Air Service
The search includes police, the fire service, Kent Search and Rescue Team and the National Police Air Service

A search has resumed for a novice triathlete who is feared to have drowned while competing in the swimming leg of a triathlon race.

Sonar equipment has reportedly been brought in to aid the search for the man, named locally as 34-year-old Paul Gallihawk.

He has been missing since a 750m swim at the start of the Ocean Lake Triathlon at Leybourne Lakes in Kent on Saturday morning.

It is believed the alarm was raised after he failed to emerge from the water to collect his bicycle for a 14-mile bike ride. The event also included a five-mile run.

His disappearance triggered a search involving police, the fire service, Kent Search and Rescue Team and the National Police Air Service.

Stewart Baird, from Kent Search and Rescue, told KentOnline that a sonar device was being used to help them search a greater area. Kent Police confirmed the search was resuming.

Race organisers posted on Facebook: "We are shocked by what happened (on Saturday) at the Ocean Lake Triathlon and are working closely with the emergency services to do everything that we can to assist them in their search.

"Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this time."

On his JustGiving page, Mr Gallihawk, from Maidstone, told how he was competing to raise money for King's College Hospital in London which looked after his father last year.

As his £300 target shot up to more than £1,800, it emerged that the event was Mr Gallihawk's first triathlon.

Messages of concern were posted on the JustGiving site. One wrote: "We in the triathlon community are keeping our fingers crossed for one of our own."

Another read: "I was competing yesterday and am totally shocked. Seems right to donate. Prayers to your family."

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