A MAJOR multi-agency search is continuing today for a missing swimmer at a Purbeck beauty spot.  

The man, aged in his 20s and from London, had been swimming with two other people when he got into difficulty and failed to return to shore on Sunday evening.

HM Coastguard received a 999 call from a member of the public at 5.45pm yesterday who said his brother had gone under the water and disappeared while swimming off Man o' War Beach.

Lulworth Coastguard said three men had swam to the rocks just offshore but one of the men hadn’t been seen for around 15 minutes.

A spokesperson said: "On their return to the beach one had disappeared, around 30m from the beach.”

Two Coastguard rescue helicopters were involved in the extensive searches to locate the swimmer until around 10.30pm on Sunday night before the search was suspended for the night. 

Dorset Police officers, the RNLI and the ambulance service were also involved in the search which continues today.

Weymouth RNLI inshore and all weather lifeboats and Swanage RNLI lifeboat along with Weymouth, Kimmeridge and Wyke Coastguard Rescue Teams undertook an intensive search of the area where the man was last seen.

Lulworth Coastguard said: "Three search teams were formed and concentrated their efforts from Scratchy Bottom to Dungy Head.

"With no trace of the man and low light levels, the search was suspended for the night. The three teams debriefed at our station and were stood down shortly before 22.30pm.

"Our thoughts are with the man's family and friends at this very difficult time.”

Chief Inspector Stu Pitman, of Dorset Police, said: “Searches are continuing today in the area to try and locate the missing man.

“I would urge anyone with information that may assist our enquiries to please get in touch.”

Anyone with information or knowledge as to the missing swimmer's whereabouts can contact Dorset Police at www.dorset.police.uk, via email 101@dorset.pnn.police.uk or by calling 101, quoting incident number 21:331.