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Last Updated: Friday, 8 September 2006, 08:18 GMT 09:18 UK
'Missing' diver took ferry to UK
Matthew Harvey
The diver said he was knocked out after being hit by a boat
A diver whose disappearance sparked a major three-day search off Guernsey had actually been on a ferry trip to the UK, police have revealed.

Matthew Harvey, 35, went missing from Fermain Bay on Saturday and was picked up by a yacht nearby on Monday.

His claim to have been knocked unconscious and stranded on rocks for two nights was widely reported.

Police said he had possibly been in the Dorset area while he was missing. Mr Harvey was unavailable for comment.

Chief Inspector Ruari Hardy of Guernsey Police told the BBC that Mr Harvey got on a ferry on Saturday lunchtime and returned on Monday evening, about an hour and a half before he was found by a yacht crew in the sea off Fermain Bay.

Map
Mr Harvey claimed that he had been swept by tides along the coast

He said: "A member of the public contacted us and we were then able to establish that he had been in the UK and we were able to track his movements."

Guernsey Museum worker Mr Harvey has been interviewed by police, but no decision has been taken on whether any action will be taken against him.

It is understood that the search operation to rescue Mr Harvey cost at least 10,000.

Search co-ordinator, Guernsey harbourmaster Capt Peter Gill, said: "Criticisms in the media of our ability to conduct a search properly have proved to be unfounded.

"But whatever annoyance I might have is tempered with sympathy for his family."

At the time of the incident there were several hundred people searching for Mr Harvey, including teams from the RNLI and coastguards as well as friends and family.

Capt Gill said: "The most important thing is that no life was lost. That's the most important thing.

"We would not want this sort of story to prevent anyone being involved in search and rescue in the future."

Staff at a self-storage centre in Poole, Dorset, have been helping Guernsey Police with enquiries after they claimed to have seen Mr Harvey on Sunday and again on Monday.

They said he came into Poole Lock and Store and left diving equipment which had not been retrieved.

Mr Harvey's family have also been unavailable for comment.


SEE ALSO
Missing diver stranded on rocks
06 Sep 06 |  Guernsey
Diver survives three days at sea
05 Sep 06 |  Guernsey
Diver named as search continues
04 Sep 06 |  Guernsey

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