Navy called in to help in search for missing Fife diver

The Fife diver was exploring a WWI U-Boat wreck three and a half miles out of Dunbar harbour.
The Fife diver was exploring a WWI U-Boat wreck three and a half miles out of Dunbar harbour.

The Royal Navy is being called in to assist with the search for a diver from Glenrothes who went missing off the coast of Dunbar over a week ago.

The 59-year-old diver, named locally as William (Willie) Peace, has not been seen since he failed to resurface whilst diving at the site of a World War I U-Boat wreck, approximately three miles off the Dunbar coast.

“Police in East Lothian were alerted by the Coastguard around 4.40pm on Saturday, July 8, after a diver failed to resurface following an organised dive,” said a spokesman for Police Scotland.

“Specially trained officers are now leading the search for the man and we are continuing to liaise with his family to keep them fully updated on the progress of this operation.”

Local RNLI crews were taking part in the lifeboat fete in the harbour when they were scambled for real.

At the request of UK Coastguard, both the all-weather (ALB) and inshore (ILB) lifeboats were launched.

A Search and Rescue helicopter and the vessel Conserver conducted an extensive search of the area near the wreck where the diver had last been seen.

However, after three hours and with no sign of the missing man, all assets were stood down and both lifeboats returned to Dunbar.

Gary Fairbairn, Dunbar RNLI coxswain, told the Gazette: “Our thoughts are with everyone involved in this incident.

“Even though it was Lifeboat Day, we were still on call and it highlighted just why we are dependent on the huge support we get from people in Dunbar.”

The missing Glenrothes man is understood to be a experienced diver with over 30 years of experience.

Investigating officers have now lodged a formal request to the British Government for Royal Navy assistance.

A number of other agencies and specialists, including the Coastguard and oceanographers specialising in tides and offshore currents, have also now been drafted in to formulate a co-ordinated and ongoing search for the missing man.