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The search goes on.

Byline: By LESLEY RICHARDSON

TWO teenage boys were feared dead last night after they were swept off a cliff face during the "worst storm in living memory".

Coastguards called off the search and rescue mission for Matthew Myburgh, 16, and Charlie Morrell, 15, and had moved into a search and recovery operation, a coastguard spokesman said.

The two boys, both from West Lulworth, in Dorset, were standing on a ledge jutting into the sea at Lulworth Cove when a wave swept them away. Their friend Richard Lawrence, 15, who was standing on a ledge higher up on the western tip of the cove, jumped into the sea to try to save them.

The brave teenager clung to a buoy before swimming back to the shore and raising the alarm at 7.20pm on Thursday.

Richard suffered a hand injury and was said to be "highly traumatised", according to Dorset Police whose family liaison officers questioned the teenager throughout the day.

Mark Rodaway, coastguard commander for southern England, said the rescue team included more than 100 people who had been searching for the boys for around 20 hours.

He said: "We have come to the hard decision that it is appropriate that we move from a search and rescue phase of the operation to one of search and recovery."

Chief Inspector Nick Maton, of Dorset Police, said it was now a missing persons inquiry.

He said the search would not continue through the night but underwater search units from Avon and Somerset Police would be diving in the cove in daylight over the weekend.

Mr Maton said: "The storm we had last night was exceptional. People are already saying it was one of the worst storms in living memory."

He added: "The family have borne up very, very well.

I was speaking to them a short time ago and they were full of praise for all the agencies involved in the search."

Mr Rodaway said Richard tried to help his friends but couldn't see in the pitch dark and raging seas.

Friends of the missing boys were waiting on the cliff tops all day for news.

Richard Holman, headteacher of The Purbeck School, confirmed that the two missing boys attended his school in Wareham, Dorset

CAPTION(S):

A lifeboat crew looks for the boys and (inset) the agonising wait for news
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Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Nov 5, 2005
Words:390
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