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.
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.”
Emergency services were called at 1.20pm after Lucas fell into the river. He had been fishing with his dad. Reports say his dad jumped into the river but could not find his son.
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.
The British Red Cross are also on the scene.
Among the volunteers searching are 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.