THE family of a Glasgow teenager, who has been missing for more than 24 hours after getting into trouble in the sea off Barry Island, have said they are “worried sick”.
Locals said the stretch of South Wales coastline is treacherous, with the difference between high and low tide one of the greatest in the world.
Hollie McClymont, 14, is believed to have been on holiday with her family.
It is thought the alarm was not raised for an hour after she was last seen struggling after being caught in a rip tide at Whitmore Bay, at 2:45pm on Sunday.
Police foot patrols, helicopters and inflatable craft continued to search along the shoreline yesterday.
Her 16-year-old cousin Shannon appealed for information on Twitter.
She wrote: “You never ever think something like this will happen to someone in your family.
“We’re worried sick and really hope Hollie turns up safe and sound.”
Superintendent Marc Lamerton, who is based at Barry Police Station, said: “Our last sighting of Hollie is at around 2:45pm in the sea, in the part of the bay nearest the Island Leisure Amusement arcade, Western Shelter, Barry Island.”
Hollie is white, 5ft 7ins, of average build with long black hair dyed red.
She was last seen wearing a multi-coloured floral dress described as short at the front and longer at the back.
HM Coastguard called off its search after 24 hours – saying the incident was now being treated as a missing person inquiry.
Watch manager David Jones said it was unfortunate the 999 call had not been made sooner.
“A friend reported it to the police but unfortunately that was an hour after she was last seen. We would rather have been told about it as soon as possible,” he said.
Mr Jones said the sea around Barry Island can be treacherous, with the second highest and lowest falling tide in the world. The area around Whitmore Bay is patrolled by lifeguards but the teenager was in an area which is beyond their line of sight.
Sue Voss, of Pencoedtre, Barry, said locals were aware of how treacherous the tides can be.
“We are all hoping that she is found safe,” she added. “It must be so terrible for the family at this moment. My heart goes out to them.”
Plaid Cymru councillor Steffan Wiliam, who lives on Barry Island and represents the area for the Vale of Glamorgan Council, said: “Our stretch of coast has the world’s second highest tidal range, second only to the Bay of Fundy.
“The main issue is that Whitmore Bay is a pocket shape. You have to be careful but it is generally very safe, particularly now we have lifeguards.
“If you swim between the two strips of flags you should be fine. You always have to be sensible on the beaches here.”