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Last Updated: Saturday, 8 September 2007, 16:15 GMT 17:15 UK
Canoeist 'possibly hit by ship'
A canoeist found dead off the East Sussex coast may have been run down by a shipping vessel in the English Channel, coastguards have said.

The man's body was found two miles off Rye, early on Saturday, and a damaged canoe was later found floating between Folkestone and Dungeness, in Kent.

Dover coastguard said the man's injuries and the damage to the canoe suggested he had been run down.

Police are appealing for information that could help identify the man.

With the injuries that he has got and the damage done to the canoe, we are putting two and two together
Dover Coastguard

A spokesman for Dover Coastguard said: "It looks at this stage as if he was run down by something.

"With the injuries that he has got and the damage done to the canoe, we are putting two and two together."

The crew of a fishing vessel spotted the body in the water, south of Rye, at about 0630 BST.

Coastguards were alerted and a lifeboat was sent to bring the body back to Rye lifeboat station, where the man was pronounced dead.

'Good sea conditions'

Police said the white man in his late 30s was wearing a drysuit and had a canoe spraydeck attached to him.

Spraydecks are flexible covers that are fitted to a kayak or a canoe, to form a waterproof seal around a canoeist's body.

Coastguards said visibility was slightly murky but sea conditions were otherwise good overnight.

The Dover coastguard spokesman added that a report of a missing person was later made, but efforts were still under way to formally identify the man.

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