Rugby fan drowns in fall from pier

A rugby supporter has drowned after falling from the end of a pier.

The man, who has not been named, was celebrating at the end of Palace Pier in Brighton when he either fell or leapt into the English Channel.

Security staff on the pier raised the alarm when the man was spotted by a passer-by in the water and a major rescue operation was launched.

A Solent Coastguard rescue helicopter plucked the man from the sea following the emergency call. Lifeboat crews from Shoreham and Brighton were also on stand-by.

The man was flown to the city's Royal Sussex County Hospital but was later pronounced dead.

An East Sussex Fire Brigade source said the man had been celebrating England's historic World Cup victory against Australia.

He said: "The guy was a supporter, but whether he had been drinking or not, and whether he jumped or fell, is not known.

"He had been in the water for 45 minutes before the helicopter was called."

Others on the pier reported seeing a man fall from the far end of the pier into the freezing cold water.

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