Expert diver says video is 'proof' Nicola Bulley didn't fall in river
The diving expert who led the hunt for Nicola Bulley has claimed he has video "proof" the missing mother did not fall into the river where police believe she did.
Peter Faulding, 60, says the clip of the River Wyre showing it to be slow-moving, meaning her body would have sunk "very quickly" and remained nearby if she’d gone in.
He also said the rocks by the bank, which would have been under just 2ft of water when she went missing, meaning she could have simply "stood up" if she’d fallen down.
He said the clip makes him believe Nicola didn't fall into the river when she vanished 13 days ago while walking her dog.
Watch: The river video which Nicola Bulley diver says is proof she didn't fall in water
He said he felt a "wider land search" of outbuildings and sheds was now needed after his team’s sonar scans of the river failed to find any proof of her body in the river.
Faulding, drafted in to help Lancashire Police's efforts, called off his search on Wednesday after his team found no trace of her using its advanced sonar equipment.
Read more: Nicola Bulley: Everything we know coast
But while police probing her disappearance say they believe she fell in, he believes the short clip revealing a barely moving log on the water undermines their theory.
He said of the video: "The log stayed at that point for 20 minutes, and it actually spiralled and went up six feet and came back to the same place.
"The river on the day was slightly higher – it was about a foot higher – but I’d be very surprised in my experience [if she was there] as a body usually goes to the bottom very quickly.
"If Nicola slipped down the bank, she would have landed in about 2ft of water but onto rocks, and she could have stood up."
Faulding's team, Specialist Group International, began searching the River Wyre on Monday, near where Bulley was last seen on 27 January.
But he said they had finished their investigation on Wednesday afternoon after an extensive search of a one-mile stretch of the river, which is 13ft deep close to where Nicola was last seen, showed she was not there.
Faulding said it's his professional opinion that Bulley’s body would have been seen if it had floated any further downstream on the day she disappeared.
The diver spoke with Bulley's partner, Paul Ansell, at the site where she went missing.
Read more: What happened to Nicola Bulley?
Faulding said Ansell now believes “Nicola has not gone in that river."
But the lack of a body raised hopes that she might still be alive.
Faulding said of his conversation with Ansell: "He’s very upset and he was in tears yesterday. He’s very emotional, obviously.
"He was shocked at how shallow the rocks were yesterday. He thought it was really deep there. If she had gone in she would have landed on the rocks.
"The family thanked us for being here. They said ‘You’ve given us confidence now’ and his belief is that Nicola has not gone in that river."