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'Unlikely' missing six-year-old Lucas Dobson will be found alive, police say

Lucas Dobson, six, has been missing since he slipped into the River Stour in Sandwich, Kent, on Saturday. Credit: Family handout/PA

A six-year-old boy who fell into a river is "unlikely" to be found alive, police have said.

Lucas Dobson fell into the River Stour in Sandwich, Kent, on Saturday afternoon while on a fishing trip with his family.

Superintendent Amanda Tillotson, who is leading the investigation, said more than 100 emergency services members and 200 volunteers had been deployed to find Lucas.

Specialist search groups search a section of the River Stour Credit: Gareth Fuller/PA

She said: “I’ve just come from speaking to the family myself, and they wish to pass on their absolute gratitude for everybody, and they’re overwhelmed at the amount of people that have come out to help and search for Lucas.”

When asked how likely it was that Lucas is found alive, Superintendent Tillotson said: "Obviously as time has gone on now I think it is unlikely, unfortunately.

“But, we will continue to search and obviously I would like to have a positive outcome, I would like to find Lucas, we are getting increasingly concerned with the amount of time that is going on now.

“But it is really important that we continue to search for Lucas and continue to do that for the family, and my heart goes out to them, it really does.”

Lucas, six, slipped into the River Stour in Sandwich, Kent, on Saturday afternoon, while on a fishing trip with family members Credit: Family handout/PA

She said search teams were working hard to “to bring a quick resolution and find Lucas as quickly as we can for the family”, adding: “This is an awful, tragic incident.”

Dive teams were still out looking along the river area, with resources focused around where Lucas fell in.

Emergency services were called at around 1.20pm on Saturday after Lucas fell into the water.

Lucas’s aunt Maciee Stanford, 18, said the boy’s father jumped into the water after he fell between a jetty and a boat, but “the current was too strong, he had already gone”.

She told the Mirror: "As soon as he fell the three adults jumped in after (him) but the current was too strong, he had already gone in the short amount of time, he could not be found."

A police officer talks to members of the public gathered in Sandwich Credit: Gareth Fuller/PA

A Facebook page called Search for Lucas said the young boy was wearing a black and red striped T-shirt with white shorts.

Volunteers were warned about their own safety and told by police to stay away from the water’s edge, work in groups, and make sure they had phones.