Pictured: American boyfriend of British woman missing for five days in Caribbean after he told police she ‘might have fallen from their catamaran’
- Ryan Bane, 44, told officers girlfriend may have fallen overboard from boat
- Sarm Heslop, from Southampton, was last seen on board the 47ft Siren Song
- Her boyfriend told the US Coast Guard he woke on Monday to find no trace of her
- Divers are scouring the Virgin Islands waters where the catamaran was moored
The boyfriend of a British woman who went missing in the US Virgin Islands has been pictured for the first time.
Ryan Bane, 44, told officers his girlfriend Sarm Heslop, 41, might have fallen overboard from their catamaran after he woke up at ‘around 2am’ on Monday and ‘realised that she was not on board.’
Mr Bane, who owns and skippers the 47ft Siren Song, said he was awoken by the sound of the boat’s anchor alarm, which sounds when a vessel has moved too far from its mooring, before discovering his girlfriend was missing.
The US Coast Guard told local media it was alerted to Ms Heslop’s disappearance at 11.46am.
It comes as police searching for the missing 41-year-old from Southampton continue to scour land and water off the island of St John, where the yacht was moored.
Ryan Bane, 44, who owns and skippers the 47ft Siren Song, said he was awoken by the sound of the boat’s anchor alarm before realising his girlfriend was no longer onboard
Sarm Heslop (pictured) was last seen on a catamaran in the US Virgin Islands on Sunday
A friend of Mr Bane’s said he was ‘beside himself with grief’ and ‘totally distraught’.
They said: ‘He is beside himself with grief and worry. He is heartbroken. I know from what he’s said that Ryan and Sarm were very much in love.’
The friend added that Mr Bane was awoken at ‘around 2am’ by the sound of his anchor alarm.
They added: ‘Ryan said his anchor alarm went off. He woke and found Sarm wasn’t in bed. He got up and went around the boat but there was no sign of her.’
Following Ms Heslop’s disappearance, the 41-year-old’s friends have been left ‘devastated’ and have urged the authorities to make the search for her ‘a critical priority’.
‘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 they were 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.’
Ms Heslop is described as a slim 41-year-old woman with a southern English accent and a tattoo on her left shoulder.
She was last seen on board on Sunday before her boyfriend called the Coast Guard’s San Juan station reporting that ‘his girlfriend may have fallen’ from the yacht.
The Leopard 4700 luxury catamaran was moored off the coast of St John, the third-largest of the US Virgin Islands.
Police and volunteers searching for the missing 41-year-old from Southampton (left) are scouring the waters (right) off the island of St John where the yacht was moored
‘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.’
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