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Lucas Dobson: Body found in search for missing six-year-old

ByEleanor Perkins

A body found this morning has been confirmed as missing Lucas Dobson.

The six-year-old, from Deal, was reported missing at 1.20pm on Saturday after he fell into the River Stour just off Richborough Road in Sandwich.

As the search entered its fifth day police confirmed they had found a body n the river at 9.15am today. It has since been confirmed it was Lucas.

Lucas Dobson. Picture: Maciee Stanford (15386262)
Lucas Dobson. Picture: Maciee Stanford (15386262)

Lucas had been on a fishing trip with his father and friends when he fell off a jetty and into the fast moving water.

His father and two other men dived in to save him but it was too late and he had been dragged away.

Hundreds of people had come from across the country to join police, firefighters and the coastguard in the search.

His aunt, Maciee Stanford, 18, who is Lucas's mum's sister, told of the horror of what happened.

Maciee Stanford with her nephew Lucas Dobson. Picture: Maciee Stanford (15386260)
Maciee Stanford with her nephew Lucas Dobson. Picture: Maciee Stanford (15386260)

Maciee, who is Deal Carnival Queen, said: "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 onto the boat but he fell in between the jetty and the boat.

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

"The current was so strong the three men could barely swim in it.

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

She said Lucas could swim but the family feared the Warden House Primary School pupil would have been too scared to do anything.

A Kent Fire and Rescue RIB in the search of the River Stour at Sandwich for missing Lucas Dobson continued on Sunday. Picture: Chris Davey. (15396375)
A Kent Fire and Rescue RIB in the search of the River Stour at Sandwich for missing Lucas Dobson continued on Sunday. Picture: Chris Davey. (15396375)

Search and rescue teams got to work straight away but volunteers were soon turning up to lend a hand.

The search was called off as night fell on Saturday, but resumed again on Sunday morning.

Hundreds of people gathered at Sandwich Fire Station to be briefed on where to search and how to do so safely.

Crowds gather on Sunday morning before the search for Lucas Dobson resumes (15385297)
Crowds gather on Sunday morning before the search for Lucas Dobson resumes (15385297)

Police, fire crews, the coastguard and volunteers from Kent Search and Rescue were involved and a specialist diving team also searched the river.

They scoured the water and banks of the river with particular attention to Richborough Road where the boy went into the water.

Two red Underwater Search and Recovery vans were stationed in a driveway in the road, thought to be just metres from where the Warden House Primary School pupil disappeared.

In a field opposite was up to 20 emergency service vehicles, including police cars, fire engines and coastguard vans.

On the water, there were RNLI crews in dinghys and others rescuers in canoes.

A designated Facebook page, Search for Lucas, was set up to provide updates to the community and ensure people’s kind actions did not hinder emergency service efforts.

Ossie’s fish and chip shop offered free refreshments to helpers and started collecting donations for Lucas’s family in a bucket on the counter.

St Mary's Church made teas and coffees free of charge for volunteers and also made its toilets available for people to use along with chairs and tables for people to take a break.

Sandwich Town Council has also waivered it’s 20p fee for use of the public toilets on the Quay.

The public were being told to keep their search within 1km of Richborough Road.

After hours of searching, people were called to another briefing at 5pm on Sunday where they were told to focus their efforts on looking beyond Richborough Road and beyond the children's park at the Quay.

They were also told to search the bushes and call out his name in case Lucas was able to pull himself out of the water.

The search continued on Monday and those who couldn't help were able to show their support by attending vigils in towns across the coast.

Read more: All the latest news from Sandwich

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