Search for missing four-year-old boy Dylan Cecil called off in Burnham-on-Sea

Dylan Cecil Missing boy
Dylan Cecil went missing in Burnham-on-Sea after falling off a jetty. Photo:

The search for a four-year-old boy - who went missing in the sea while on holiday - has been called off by rescuers.

Dylan Cecil's parents tried to rescue him after he slipped off a jetty into the water in Burnham-on-Sea, Somerset, but could not reach him.

ITV News' Emily Morgan reports:

The young boy had wanted to get a closer look at the sea and went onto the jetty with his parents, Rachel McCollum and Darren Cecil, and his two younger sisters, aged one and three.

Dylan's parents' desperate efforts to save their son meant the couple had to be pulled from the water by passers-by and treated for water ingestion.

Announcing the search had been called off, Vince Irwin, coastguard sector manager for North Devon, said:

The search has now been terminated as of 4.30 this afternoon.

We've had an extensive search throughout last night, the early hours of this morning and again this afternoon and have covered every possible area that we can think of.

We have covered over two tides now and generally it would have shown over those periods. Small patrols will be going out in view of that.

As you would expect it's not good news for the family, like it's not good news for us, they were very upset.

Dylan Cecil Missing boy
Burnham-on-Sea, Somerset, where Dylan Cecil went missing. Credit: Steve Parsons/PA Wire

The family had been visiting Mrs McCollum's parents who live locally and who said that they "couldn't have wished for a better grandson". Jackie McCollum, Rachel's mother, said:

Rachel, our daughter, and Darren came up Friday with the kids, they were going back today and we were going to have the kids until Friday.

We always had them for a week and would spoil them and Dylan always called us seaside nanny and granddad.

He loved coming up to see us, he loved the seaside. He was a bubbly, bubbly, lovely kid. He was our only grandson. We've got five granddaughters, but he was our only grandson.

Dylan's grandfather, David McCollum, added:

We couldn't have wished for a grandson any better.

I just want to give thanks to everybody who has helped in the search mission and tried to get Dylan back for us. I can't say thank you enough really.

We're all just devastated.

Four coastguard rescue teams, four lifeboats, the coastguard sector manager, police and the RAF helicopter were all involved in the search and rescue operation, which was launched after a member of the public witnessed the boy's parents' attempts to rescue their son.

The water near the jetty is impossible to see through due to the mud flats and strong spring tide currents which would have made it difficult to swim back to shore, the coastguard said.