Volunteers from ‘far and wide’ helping in river search for missing six-year-old

By Abbianca Makoni, PA

Hundreds of volunteers have travelled from “far and wide” to help police search for a missing schoolboy who fell into the river whilst fishing with his family.

Lucas Dobson slipped into the River Stour in Sandwich, Kent, on Saturday afternoon while on an outdoor trip.

The six-year-old’s father and two other adults jumped into the water in an attempt to rescue him but he was swept away by a strong current.

Kent Fire and Rescue Service and HM Coastguard have been searching for the youngster alongside volunteers who have travelled from outside the county to help.

Superintendent Amanda Tillotson, of Kent Police, said: “I would once again like to thank those members of the public who are helping to search for Lucas.

“This goes to all those people who assisted over the weekend and to those who’ve shown up again today. Everyone is working tirelessly to ensure we have every possibility covered.

Kent Police officers from the search and marine unit scour a section of the River Stour (Gareth Fuller/PA)

“There has been an overwhelming response to the incident, with people coming to help from far and wide – including outside of our county. For this, we are extremely grateful and we continue to use all resources available to us.

“Lucas’ family have asked me to extend their sincere thanks to everyone who has and continues to help find him.”

She urged the volunteers to “adhere to all the safety advice that has been provided”, adding: “It’s imperative that people stay safe around the water.”

Volunteers search near to the River Stour for missing Lucas (Gareth Fuller/PA)

During the three-day search, volunteers have gathered in groups and searched near the River Stour whilst police swam all areas of the river in attempt to find Lucas.

More than 100 members of the emergency services and some 200 volunteers have taken part in what is said to be a “massive operation”.

Lucas’ family have extended their “sincere thanks” to those taking part in the search.