Mother loses two-year-old son and husband after fateful dinghy trip

The body of a man whose two-year-old son was found floating lifelessly in the sea last Monday, 11 June, was found off Littlehampton yesterday afternoon.

Alan Watkins, 50, and his son Arun were reported missing off the coast at Littlehampton last Sunday night, after having gone dinghy sailing. Their empty 5ft dinghy, containing nappies, a child’s armbands, clothes and refreshments, was reported to the coastguard by a passing yacht at 1840hrs that night. Arun’s body was found nearby, but he died later in hospital. Despite an intensive land and sea search, no trace of his father was found until yesterday, Tuesday 12 June, when a kite-surfer reported a body in the water directly south of Littlehampton at about 3.45pm.

The body was recovered by the RNLI lifeboat and returned to shore and detectives confirmed it was that of Mr Watkins last night. Officers also confirmed a post-mortem examination of Arun’s body had taken place but refused to release details of what it had revealed.

Detective Chief Inspector Adam Hibbert, from Sussex Police’s major incident team, said a force family liaison officer was staying in London to provide support to Arun’s mother, Sheena Basnayake.

Sussex Police said they were keeping an open mind about the tragedy and investigations continue.