Lucas Dobson: River fall boy ‘unlikely to be found alive’

Lucas Dobson Image copyright Chloee Martin
Image caption Lucas Dobson’s aunt Maciee Stanford said “not knowing is the hardest bit”

A six-year-old boy who fell into a river in Kent while fishing is “unlikely” to be found alive, police have said.

Lucas Dobson slipped into the River Stour in Sandwich at about 13:30 BST on Saturday and has not been seen since.

Supt Amanda Tillotson said more than 100 emergency services workers and 200 volunteers had taken part in a “massive” search for Lucas.

But there was “unlikely” to be a positive outcome, she added.

Rescuers, including specialist police divers, resumed their efforts early on Sunday after a hunt involving the coastguard helicopter on Saturday.

Asked how likely it was Lucas would be found alive, Supt Tillotson said: “Obviously as time has gone on…I think it is unlikely, unfortunately.

“But, we will continue to search and obviously I would like to have a positive outcome – I would like to find Lucas.

“We are getting increasingly concerned with the amount of time that has gone on.”

Image copyright PA Media
Image caption Rescue teams resumed their search for Lucas on the River Stour early on Sunday

Rescue teams in canoes have been combing through dense vegetation on the riverbanks, while police officers have also been using sonar equipment.

Lucas’s aunt Maciee Stanford thanked people for their support earlier and said “we just need to find Lucas”.

She said he had slipped and fallen between a jetty and a boat while out fishing with his family.

Three adults – including his father – jumped into the river to try to save him, but Lucas was swept away by the strong current, according to Ms Stanford.

“We appreciate everything everyone has done,” she said.

“It’s so overwhelming to see our community come together and help us – we could not thank you all enough for everything.”

Ms Stanford added: “Not knowing is the hardest bit.”

Image copyright PA Media
Image caption Volunteers searching for Lucas Dobson have been attending briefings from the fire service

A mile-long exclusion zone has been set up along the river, around the scrapyard at Richborough Road.

Rescuers said this was to prevent any public vessels entering the search zone.

The fire service’s assistant director Chris Colgan said: “We’re all incredibly grateful to everyone who has given everything to try and locate this little boy.

“Our thoughts are with him and his family at this very difficult and emotional time.”

Supt Amanda Tillotson, of Kent Police, said: “This is understandably a very difficult and upsetting time for Lucas’ family and our officers are continuing to support them.”



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