Lucas Dobson latest: Body found in search for six-year-old boy missing in Kent river

Stephanie Cockroft

A body has been found by police searching for schoolboy Lucas Dobson, Kent Police said.

The six-year-old went missing on Saturday afternoon after he slipped into the River Stour in Sandwich, Kent, while on a fishing trip with his family.

His father and two adults jumped into the water in an attempt to rescue him but he was swept away by a strong current.

Kent Police said the body has not been formally identified but Lucas' family have been told.

Emergency services have spent five days searching for Lucas after he slipped into the River Stour (PA)

The death is not being treated as suspicious but initial enquiries are continuing.

Chief Inspector Mark Weller of Kent Police said: "This is a deeply tragic and upsetting incident for all concerned, and Lucas' family are understandably devastated.

"We were inundated with offers of assistance from members of the public, who turned out in large numbers to help search for Lucas. I know his family are very grateful and touched by the support provided, and I too would like to offer my own personal thanks.

"I would also like to recognise the efforts of our partners from Kent Fire and Rescue Service, HM Coastguard, the Royal National Lifeboat Institution and others who assisted in the search for Lucas."

Search and rescue teams searched the banks of the River Stour (PA)

Experts from the emergency services have been using specialist equipment in order to find Lucas, including sonar detectors, underwater cameras, divers, dogs and drones.

It is thought Lucas, from Deal, vanished while stepping from a jetty onto a boat, and despite three adults immediately diving in, the current had already swept him from reach.

High-tech sonar equipment was deployed and 200 people from “far and wide” joined forces with Kent Police, fire crews, the Coastguard and diving teams in the search operation.

Lucas's aunt Maciee Stanford, 18, said the boy's father jumped into the water after he fell between a jetty and a boat, but "the current was too strong, he had already gone".

Hundreds of people were involved in the search operation (PA)

She told the MirrorOnline: "He was with his dad and his dad's friends along with other children.

"The incident happened because our Lucas was on the jetty and tried to step from there on to the boat, but he fell in between the jetty and the boat.

"As soon as he fell the three adults jumped in after (him) but the current was too strong, he had already gone in the short amount of time, he could not be found.

"They fish and do this regularly as it is behind one of the men's houses, all the children play together here."