Body found in lake search for missing Kent triathlete

A body has been found by rescuers searching for a novice triathlete who is feared to have drowned while competing in the swimming leg of a triathlon race.

The next of kin of the man, named locally as 34-year-old Paul Gallihawk, have been told about the discovery, Kent Police said.

A spokesman said: "Officers conducting a search for a 34-year-old man who was taking part in a triathlon at Leybourne Lakes on Saturday 29 August have this morning discovered a body.

"Formal identification is yet to place but the next of kin of the missing triathlete have been notified of the discovery."

The hunt for Mr Gallihawk resumed this morning, reportedly involving sonar equipment to enable searches to be carried out over a wider area.

He had been missing since a 750m swim at the start of the Ocean Lake Triathlon at Leybourne Lakes in Kent on Saturday morning.

It is believed the alarm was raised after he failed to emerge from the water to collect his bicycle for a 14-mile bike ride. The event also included a five-mile run.

His disappearance triggered a search involving police, the fire service, Kent Search and Rescue Team and the National Police Air Service.

Race organisers posted on Facebook: "We are shocked by what happened (on Saturday) at the Ocean Lake Triathlon and are working closely with the emergency services to do everything that we can to assist them in their search.

"Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this time."

On his JustGiving page, Mr Gallihawk, from Maidstone, said he was competing to raise money for King's College Hospital in London which looked after his father last year.

As his £300 target shot up to more than £1,800, it emerged that the event was Mr Gallihawk's first triathlon.

Messages of concern were posted on the JustGiving site. One said: "We in the triathlon community are keeping our fingers crossed for one of our own."

Another read: "I was competing yesterday and am totally shocked. Seems right to donate. Prayers to your family."