Missing angler's family speak of ordeal

THE family of a former lifeboatman feared dead after being swept out to sea have told how they are “clutching at hope”.Martyn Franklin, 41, from Lowestoft, was walking along Kessingland beach at about 7am on Wednesday morning when he was knocked off his feet by a wave and pulled out to sea.

THE family of a former lifeboatman feared dead after being swept out to sea have told how they are “clutching at hope”.

Martyn Franklin, 41, from Lowestoft, was walking along Kessingland beach at about 7am on Wednesday morning when he was knocked off his feet by a wave and pulled out to sea.

The incident happened as waves swelled to 15ft in treacherous conditions brought about by a combination of high tides and high winds.

The father-of-two, who grew up in Bury St Edmunds, had taken part in rescue missions while serving as a volunteer lifeboatman for the RNLI at Lowestoft.


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On Wednesday it was Mr Franklin who became the subject of a major HM Coastguard search operation. The search for Mr Franklin has now been called off, with the Lowestoft RNLI crew only learning they were searching for a former colleague yesterday morning.

But his family, who live in Bury St Edmunds, remain desperate for news of the missing angler and, while preparing themselves for the worst, are still hoping for the best.

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Kathleen Davis , his 78-year-old mother who has had four strokes in the past few years, was told by her son to expect a call at 6pm on the day he was swept away into the sea. Since then, Mrs Davis has been waiting for his call.

His older sister Vanessa Frary , of Appledown Drive, Bury, said: “We are still clutching at straws hoping, but as the hours go it gets harder. But I think until somebody turns up and says he has been found we still be clutching to whatever we can.

“I am more worried for my mother at the moment. I don't think it has sunk in with my mum yet and all she says she wants is Martyn back. I wish I could give her that.

“He was a volunteer lifeboatman with Lowestoft RNLI. Me and my brother didn't always see eye to eye but we made our peace. Blood is thicker than water and we buried the hatchet last Christmas.

“I'm going to miss him. Unfortunately we may have to prepare ourselves for bad news.

“He used to go out fishing quite regularly and he told our mother he was going out fishing and that he would call her at 6pm. She stayed with us on Wednesday night and we were waiting for the call.”

She added: “It has been very, very tragic. This was the last thing we expected. We hope he will still be found, possibly with hypothermia but alive. He was a law unto himself, he was an individual.”

Mike Chapman, Lowestoft lifeboat operations manager, sent the “deepest sympathies” of the station to Mr Franklin's family.

He said the lifeboat crew had no idea while they were searching for the missing angler that it was Mr Franklin and only learned of his identity yesterday morning.

He said: “He was a probationary member of the crew. He came out for the first time on exercise in September 2004 and continued to come out right through to November and then in January 2005 decided not to pursue becoming a crew member any further.

“I did not know him well as he was only connected to the lifeboat station for a short time.

“It is a very sad business. On behalf of everyone at the station, our sympathy goes out to his family.

“We do not know for absolute certain that he is not going to be found but I doubt he will be found alive now.

“No-one connected with the Lowestoft lifeboat station had any idea whatsoever when on the search that it was Martyn Franklin and we only learnt of the fact this morning. This tragedy underlines the fact that the sea will always win. The seas that morning were particularly bad and it's a treacherous piece of coastline.”

Mr Franklin's family said they wanted to thank everybody involved in the search for him.

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