The body of six year old Lucas Dobson,recovered from the River Stour today (August 21) has been formally identified.
The discovery follows a four-day search after he fell into the water near Richborough Road at about 1.20pm on Saturday, August 17.
Lucas had been fishing with his dad and friends. His aunt Maciee Standford said the youngster, from Deal, fell in between the jetty and the boat. Despite his dad and adults in the group immediately going in the water to find him, he disappeared.
Emergency services worked together to coordinate a four day search that took 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 involved specialist and experienced search and rescue teams.
The search, which had entered its fifth day when the tragic discovery was made this morning, was joined by hundreds of volunteers from across the county and further afield.
Chief Inspector Mark Weller of Kent Police said: “Following the discovery of a body in the River Stour at approximately 9.15am on Wednesday 21 August, formal identification has taken place and I can confirm the body is that of missing Lucas.
“It brings an end to our search and I would like to echo Lucas’ family’s message of thanks to those who came out to help search for him in the last few days. The community support we have witnessed has been heart-warming, even in the most tragic of circumstances.
“I’d also like to recognise the efforts of our partners from Kent Search and Rescue, Kent Fire and Rescue Service, HM Coastguard, the Royal National Lifeboat Institution and all the volunteers who assisted in the search for Lucas.
“While the search may have ended, our support to Lucas’ family continues.”
Lucas’ uncle Lewis Tolman said in a touching social media message: “Kent as a community has touched my heart and the UK and even the world. Thank you all so much.”
Kent Fire and Rescue service, and the Ramsgate RNLI, has thanked volunteers and all those who supported the huge search operation.
A KFRS statement says: “Our thoughts are with the family and the Sandwich community at such a tragic time.”
During the search thousands turned out for candlelight vigils to Light Up the Coast for Lucas. Arrangements are now being made for candlelit remembrance events as a show of support fo his family.
A report is being prepared for the Coroner.