THE devastated parents of a missing dad who mysteriously disappeared in the Solent leading to a massive search operation said they are bracing themselves for the worst news.

Hany Mustapha blowing out the candles on his 46th birthday cake in the last photograph taken of him, went missing just the day after.

His yacht was found empty with its engines still running just off the Isle of Wight.

Detectives, baffled by the disappearance, say he was last seen at Poole Yacht Club on Saturday at about 10.05am.

A massive air, land and sea search was carried out when his yacht was found beached near Brighstone at 5.15pm.

There was no sign of Mr Mustapha.

His father, Nabil Mustapha, 81, from Kingston-upon-Thames, spoke out about the agony the family has experienced in the last few days.

He said: “The search – people have done everything they could have done.

“They had no more clues. I think it would be very impractical to think that he was alive now, unfortunately.

Even his mum – my wife was clutching at straws until yesterday. We accept that this was the inevitable. His mum is devastated, I can’t describe it. He was my only son. I just can’t describe how I feel.”

They said the night before Mr Mustapha went missing the IT company director was celebrating his birthday at a Chinese restaurant with his wife Liz.

His 19-year-old teenage daughter Nadia had also come from university in Wales to celebrate with him.

His father added: “The night before the whole family gathered for his birthday.

It was an opportunity for all of us to be together. The whole family is very close.”

“It is extremely hard for his daughter. They were very close. She would have been devastated if she had not come down.”

Mr Mustapha is described as being around 6ft 3in, of mid-European appearance with a stocky build. Anyone with information is asked to call Dorset Police on 101.