A MAJOR search for a young man who went missing while snorkeling off Portland has been suspended.

Police and coastguard teams relentlessly scoured the coastlines while helicopters and naval warships patrolled the waters off Portland all day.

Police have named him as Oscar Montgomery, aged 17, and are appealing for help from the public to find him.

Late on Wednesday night, HM Coastguard and police appealed for urgent information. The search continued yesterday with no further sightings reported.

However the Maritime and Coastguard Agency has confirmed that the the search was suspended yesterday evening, pending further information.

A spokesman said: "Despite a thorough and comprehensive search by RNLI lifeboats from Weymouth and Swanage, coastguard search and rescue helicopters from St Athan and Lee-on-Solent, a police helicopter, two coastguard fixed wing search aircraft, rescue boats from the cruise ships Britannia and Queen Mary 2, two Royal Navy warships, a Royal Navy helicopter, coastguard rescue teams from Wyke and Portland Bill and Dorset Police, nothing has been found.

"Dorset Police is continuing to carry out extensive enquiries to try and locate the young snorkeler.

"Our thoughts are with the family and friends at this very difficult time."

Oscar was last seen at around 5pm on Wednesday at Church Ope Cove, Portland wearing a dark coloured wetsuit.

He was reported as missing at around 7.37pm.

Oscar is described as white and of a slim muscular build with brown hair and a small slit in his left eyebrow.

He was wearing a dark-coloured wetsuit with black flippers and a black snorkel.

Chief Inspector Lance Cliff, of Dorset Police, said: “We are extremely concerned for Oscar and I am appealing to anyone who may have knowledge as to his whereabouts to please contact police immediately.

“I would be keen to hear from anyone who was out in the water in the area and recalls seeing a diver matching the description given and may have information that could help us find Oscar.”

Portland resident Pete Roper lives near Church Ope Cove and said he’d never seen such a large emergency services presence concentrated in one area. He was ‘shocked’ to hear of the news.

“It is usually a safe area for swimming and I’m shocked to hear a young lad has gone missing,” he said. “A lot of people have been talking about it on the isle and we hope against hope he is found safe.

“As a concerned resident and parent myself I can’t imagine what his family must be going through.”

His thoughts were echoed by Paul Kimber, who saw searches being carried out while he was near Portland Bill.

“I was impressed by amount of police and coastguards doing searches,” he said. “They were taking it very, very seriously.

“My hearts go out to his family. I have been thinking about it a lot as I’m a father myself. Hopefully he is found.”

Anyone with information or knowledge as to Oscar’s whereabouts is asked to contact Dorset Police at www.dorset.police.uk, via email 101@dorset.pnn.police.uk or by calling 101, quoting incident number 27:492.

Weymouth RNLI All weather and Inshore lifeboats were launched at approximately 8.30pm on Wednesday, May 27 to search for the 17-year-old.

The Inshore lifeboat at first carried out a close inshore search from Portland Harbour to Portland Bill while the All-weather lifeboat carried out a search from 0.5 miles from the shore from Grove Point to Portland Bill.

As time went on the search was expanded and other assets were brought into the search. In addition to the two lifeboats, two Coastguard helicopters, two war ships and other vessels, including two rescue craft from the cruise ship Britannia, in the area were called in to the search. The search continued all night with Swanage lifeboat also joining in.

The search continued all day on Thursday, May 28 with lifeboats returning to station to change crews refuel and head back out again. At first light two fixed wing aircraft also joined in the ever expanding search area with some areas close to shore being searched many times.

Coastguard cliff rescue teams searched the shoreline from Chesil Cove to Portland Harbour.

Having searched a huge area of sea from East and West of Portland Bill after nearly twenty four hours the surface search was called off by Solent Coastguard, with Weymouth All-weather lifeboat being the last to leave the search area and returned to station at about 5pm on Thursday, May 28.

In the afternoon a Police dive team were called in to carry out an underwater search at Church Ope Cove.