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Police Name Boy Missing After River Fall

Police have named an eight-year-old boy who is believed to have fallen into a swollen river while playing with friends near Willington, in County Durham as Ian Thomas Bell.

The boy, from Sunnybrow, is understood to have fallen into the River Wear at around 7pm on Friday.

A Durham Police spokesman said: "Ian Thomas Bell, aged eight, was playing with his friends in the area of the Brown Trout pub, which is in close proximity to the River Wear, where it is thought he has fallen into the water.

"Since then, a major search for Ian has been ongoing with assistance from the fire and rescue service, mountain rescue, the Durham County Council civil contingency unit and a Northumbria Police marine unit, specialising in underwater search and rescue."

The RAF was also involved in the ongoing search.

The spokesman added: "Police are continuing to work closely with the local community and would like to thank them for their continual support.

"Police are also keeping in regular contact with Ian's family and updating them as the search continues."

Janice Larnach, the owner of the Brown Trout pub, said the boy's brother had told search teams he saw his sibling fall and grab on to a tree branch, which then snapped.

"His brother said he saw him fall in, hang on to a branch and that snapped but he hasn't been found up to now," she said.

"It happened just as we were opening and we've had a full-scale search in the area."

Mrs Larnarch added: "We've had heavy rain for a week. It hasn't rained today but the river's really in flood."