Nicola Bulley: People using search for missing mum as 'tourist spot' for selfies
Heather Gibbons said online speculation about her friend's disappearance had also been "incredibly hard".
A friend of missing Nicola Bulley has said some people are treating the search location as a "tourist spot".
The 45-year-old was last seen walking her dog next to the River Wyre in the village of St Michael's on Wyre, Lancashire, on Friday 27 January, after taking her two daughters, aged six and nine, to school.
Members of the public have been searching the area for Bulley in the days since she disappeared, but a friend accused some of them of using it as a "tourist spot" to make social media posts.
Heather Gibbons said on Tuesday that people had come from far and wide to join the search, with some bringing their children with them and taking selfies.
Read more: Nicola Bulley - everything we know about her disappearance so far
“The turnout for the search has been amazing, it has been incredible," she said. “But we have noticed it does feel like some people have come to maybe use it as more like a tourist spot, to do their own personal social media things.
"In some ways we see and understand but it is hard, there’s a lot of people around as it is, so yes, if you are here to join the search, we are really appreciative."
Watch: Underwater team assist police in search for Nicola Bulley
Speaking from the River Wyre, she said seeing online speculation about her friend's disappearance had been "incredibly hard".
She said: “But up to a certain level, we understand it’s human nature, it’s natural for everyone to have speculation, because the truth is in this, nothing is making sense."
A team of private underwater search experts continued offering assistance to Lancashire Police on Tuesday.
Read more: What happened in the hour before Nicola Bulley disappeared?
Peter Faulding, head of Specialist Group International (SGI), which is using sonar technology to check the river, said that if Bulley isn't found today then he would not rule out "third party involvement" in her disappearance.
Lancashire Police are operating under the working hypothesis that Bulley fell into the river, but her friends and family dispute this theory.
On Tuesday, Faulding told ITV's Good Morning Britain: “I personally think if I rule this stretch of river out today where we’re working, I don’t think she’s here, I think there’s probably a third party involved.
Read more: Nicola Bulley theories - what police and investigators have said about missing mother
“We’re all confused with this one. This is a totally, totally unusual case. I’ve never seen nothing like this one.
“I don’t want to find Nicola today, I’m hoping she’s not here. I’m hoping she’s either walked away and gone somewhere, hoping that she’s not been abducted.
“Nobody knows whether a third party’s involved or she’s taken herself off somewhere."
Gibbons said: “The truth is if we look at it factually, no one knows until we have some evidence.
“I know that the family are massively appreciative of all the police have done.
“As family and friends, the way we are looking at it is, between Peter and his team and the police, we feel we have got the best of the best on that water and hopefully it will be a completion, one way or the other.
“And if they find nothing, then maybe it's time to start looking down other avenues.”
Watch: Retracing Nicola Bulley's journey the morning she disappeared