Divers are searching for a British woman missing in the US Virgin Islands after her boyfriend said she might have fallen overboard from their catamaran.
Sarm Heslop’s boyfriend told the US Coast Guard he had woken up in the early hours of Monday to find no trace of her on board the 47ft Siren Song.
Police searching for the missing 41-year-old from Southampton have been scouring land and water off the island of St John, where the yacht was moored.
‘Her friends here at home are devastated and just need her disappearance to be made a critical priority,’ a friend in the UK said.
The friend said she was told that Heslop’s phone, passport and belongings had all been left behind on the yacht.
‘She would not just disappear, leaving no trace,’ they said.
The friend added: ‘We would like to thank all the local community for their support in searching for Sarm both on water and land.
‘They have been so amazing but we urge them not to give up until she is found or we have more information.’
The US Coast Guard told local media that it was alerted to her disappearance at 11.46am on Monday when her boyfriend said she was nowhere to be found.
He called the Coast Guard’s San Juan station reporting that ‘his girlfriend may have fallen from their 47-foot catamaran, the Siren Song, the night before,’ they said.
The boyfriend said he had gone to sleep at around 10pm, and ‘at 2am he woke up and realised that she was not on board.’
Heslop is described as a slim 41-year-old woman with a southern English accent and a tattoo on her left shoulder.
The Virgin Islands Police Department is asking for the local community’s assistance in locating the Briton, who lives on the yacht.
The Leopard 4700 luxury catamaran was moored off the coast of St John, the third-largest of the US Virgin Islands.
‘Heslop was last seen on March 7 aboard the vessel Siren Song, that was moored off the coast of St John,’ Virgin Islands police spokesman Toby Derima said.
Divers from various law enforcement agencies have searched hundreds of square feet of water for Heslop.
Volunteers from the Virgin Islands have also scoured the area around Cruz Bay during daylight hours, police said.
‘Unfortunately, this effort proved unsuccessful,’ said Derima who added that the search will continue.
An island source in St John where the boat was last seen said that they are very concerned about her welfare.
‘An Englishwoman has gone missing on our island and we are appealing for help in trying to locate her, ‘they said.
‘Every day that goes by and we don’t have any news about her is a major concern for us. We need to locate her as soon as possible.’