UPDATE 9.40pm: The search for missing 6 year-old Lucas who fell into the River Stour this afternoon (August 17) will continue until around 10pm tonight and will begin again in the morning, say Kent Fire and Rescue Service.
Emergency services have been working together to coordinate a search that takes in land, the river banks and along and in the water of the River Stour near Sandwich. The coordinated search by the emergency services, partner agencies and charities has involved specialist and experienced search and rescue teams.
There has also been a large number of local people helping to do their bit in trying to find him. KFRS has over 30 members of staff at the scene from firefighters, the water rescue unit, technical rescue; who have been using the drone, and Buzz the KFRS search and rescue dog who is also part of the operation.
The search has involved each agency working in zones to focus the coordinated efforts.
Members of the public have also been allocated zones in the search.
Assistant Director for Kent Fire and Rescue Service, Chris Colgan said: “We’re all incredibly grateful to everyone who has given everything today to try and locate this little boy. Our thoughts are with him and his family tonight at this very difficult and emotional time.
“I would like to appeal to people who have come to Sandwich to join the search – if you continue overnight please make sure your own life isn’t placed at risk. We have issued some safety advice about keeping clear of the river’s edge, staying on the main tracks, working in groups and never alone and please make sure you are equipped with a phone and torches. We really want people to stay as safe as possible – thank you.”
RNLI and Coastguard are still out as are hundreds of volunteers, including Ramsgate couple Katie and Tyrone Keen. Tyrone said they would continue to look for Lucas, adding: “We will be staying and searching because it’s a tidal river and we don’t want him to be pulled out to sea.”
RNLI and Coastguard are also continuing to look.
UPDATE 9.30pm: British Red Cross now at the scene to give support. Ramsgate couple Katie and Tyrone Keen are among the many people searching along the river.
Tyrone said: “We have been told to please keep looking, always be in a group and don’t put yours or anyone else’s life at risk. The helicopters will be back in the air soon.
“We are with high vis uniform and search lights.”
Photos Tyrone Keen
UPDATE 8pm: Kent Police is continuing to search for six-year-old Lucas near the River Stour in Sandwich.
Officers were called to Richborough Road at 1.20pm after he was reported to have fallen in the river.
Police along with the Coastguard, Kent Fire and Rescue Service and the South East Coast Ambulance Service remain at the scene.
Superintendent Amanda Tillotson at Kent Police said: “Whilst we appreciate the support we have received from members of the public who wish to help in the search, we would strongly advise people to stay away from the water. This is for their own safety and to ensure those working within the emergency services can focus solely on locating the missing boy.’”
Anyone who wishes to report any details regarding the incident should call Kent Police on 101 or 999 in an emergency.
Ossies fish and chips is supporting the search effort by providing free chips and water, if there are a group of searchers then call 01304 613396.
UPDATE 7.40pm: Fire service says: We’ve been inundated with offers of support – Thank you. However the emergency services want to advise that as light fades, we need people to consider their safety and the risks associated with water. Unless you attended the briefing at Sandwich fire station and are aware of how you can help at this time, we would really encourage you to remain safe in your homes. We have a lot of help – Thank you.”
Advice for those in the search for the 6 year-old:
– Stay a safe distance from the water edge on the banks, do not enter the water.
– Work in pairs, not alone.
– Remain in contact with others and have a phone with you.
– As light fades make sure you have a torch and you are sticking to the main tracks.
There are two zones that local people are helping with:
Zone 1 – From Castle Cottages heading upstream
Zone 2 – From the Toll Bridge towards the coast
UPDATE: Important: If you are not already at the search site for Lucas the fire service says please do not travel over to join the effort. They now have enough people on the ground and do not want to create any risk to anyone else now that the light is fading.
UPDATE: IMPORTANT: All those helping in the search for little Lucas, there is a briefing at 7pm, Sandwich Fire Station, Ash Road.
Those who are helping are advised to attend to understand how they can assist in the search in a safe way, without placing themselves at risk, especially as the light begins to fade.
Search for Lucas
Emergency services are working together to search for a six-year-old boy who has fallen in to the River Stour close to Richborough Road and the A256 at Sandwich.
Fire crews together with police officers, Ramsgate RNLI and others are searching the river using the service boat. The Coastguard helicopter is supporting from an aerial perspective.
The call out to services was made at 1.30pm.
Three fire engines, the water safety unit, inshore lifeboat, Kent Police, South East Coast Ambulance Service (SECAmb), SECamb Hazardous Area Response Team (HART), HM Coastguard and Kent Search and Rescue (KSAR) are involved in the operation.
A search of the riverbeds close to the scrap yard area is being carried out. Police will not allow access to the Richborough Road near the fire station as it is being used emergency services. People turning out to help with the search are being redirected to the Quay.
The boy’s name is Lucas for those who want to call out while searching. His aunt Maciee Stanford has given permission to use the above photo in the hope it will help those searching.
A Kent Police spokesperson said: “Kent Police was called to Richborough Road in Sandwich at 1.20pm regarding concern for the welfare of a child reported to have fallen in the River Stour.
“A search is underway by officers and other emergency services including the Coastguard and Kent Fire and Rescue Service.”