A major search was launched after a man went missing swimming off the Dorset coast.

HM Coastguard received a 999 call from a member of the public at 5.45pm yesterday who said his brother had gone under the water and disappeared while swimming off Man o' War Beach.

HM Coastguard sent two Coastguard rescue helicopters to help with the search.

Weymouth RNLI inshore and all weather lifeboats and Swanage RNLI lifeboat along with Weymouth, Kimmeridge and Wyke Coastguard Rescue Teams have undertaken an intensive search of the area where the man was last seen.

A spokesman for Lulworth Coastguard said: "Reports were coming in of a person in the water who hadn’t been seen for 15 minutes.

"The team arrived at Durdle Door with South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust and Dorset Police.

"Kimmeridge Coastguard were tasked and proceeding to the scene, so too was the duty SCOO.

"On arrival, the first informant directed the emergency services to Man o’ War beach. Three men had swam to the rocks just off shore.

"On their return to the beach one had disappeared, around 30m from the beach.

"Weymouth Lifeboat ILB had been responding to the previous incident and had already arrived on scene and commenced their search.

"Shortly after, Bristow Group, Coastgaurd Rescue 175, arrived on scene and started searching from the air.

"Both Lulworth and Kimmeridge teams scanned the area from vantage points above the bay.

"Weymouth ALB arrived and deployed their Y boat to aid the ILB with the inshore search. The ALB searched further offshore. CG rescue 175 returned to Lee-on-Solent and was replaced by CG rescue 187 from St Athan who commenced a wider search of the area.

"As light started to fall Wyke Coastguard CRT arrived, joining the coastguard two teams as they reassembled.

"Three search teams were formed and concentrated their efforts from Scratchy Bottom to Dungy Head.

"With no trace of the man and low light levels, the search was suspended for the night. The three teams debriefed at our station and were stood down shortly before 22:30.

"Our thoughts are with the man's family and friends at this very difficult time.