British boy feared drowned off French coast

A teenage British boy is missing feared dead, after getting into difficulties whilst swimming off the coast of south west France with his father. French authorities searching for the boy say he is unlikely to be found.

British boy feared drowned off French coast
The sea at Les Landes region of south west France where the British teenager went missing. Photo: Jeremie Janisson.

A 16-year-old British boy has disappeared while swimming off the southwestern coast of France and is unlikely to be found alive, French maritime officials said on Thursday.

Rescue workers were alerted to the boy's disappearance near the town of Messanges, in the Landes region on Wednesday afternoon, France's Atlantic maritime authority said in a statement.

"The teenager was swimming with his father and they found themselves in difficulty. The father was able to reach the shore on his own but his son disappeared," it said.

According to reports in French media the pair, who have not been named, were swimming in an unsupervised area between two different aid stations. 

A patrol boat and three helicopters were deployed to search for the boy, but without success, and the maritime authority said it was unlikely the boy could have survived.

Earlier this month three children died within 24 hours in the waters of the Atlantic in the Gironde region, just north of Landes. French authorities were forced to issue warnings advising parents about the dangers of children swimming in the sea.

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