Wednesbury firefighter missing after channel swim attempt

Fire Service bosses are 'heartbroken' after confirming that one of their Crew Managers, Iain Hughes, is missing after his inspiring attempt to swim the English Channel for charity.

Iain, who is based at Wednesbury fire station with the Technical Rescue Unit, began his attempt on Tuesday morning accompanied by a support boat. Yesterday evening, it was confirmed that Iain had been missing for several hours.

In spite of search efforts involving French and Belgian military helicopters, plus navy and police patrol boats, Iain’s whereabouts remain unknown and French authorities have confirmed the search has now ended. Chief Fire Officer, Wayne Brown, said:

“Iain’s disappearance is unspeakably sad. We are giving Iain’s family all the support we can at this distressing time. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and everyone close to Iain. He is a highly-respected and much-loved colleague and friend to many.”

Iain, whose 43rd birthday falls next month, had trained for nearly two years for his cross-Channel charity swim. Married with two children, he was raising funds for The Fire Fighters Charity, British Heart Foundation and Midlands Air Ambulance.

Iain joined West Midlands Fire Service in 1999, at the age of 19. He was posted to Bournbrook fire station, and later served at Billesley, Tipton, Wolverhampton, Tettenhall, Bilston, Brierley Hill and Stourbridge.

He was promoted to Crew Manager in 2016 and joined the Technical Rescue Unit in 2022.


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