A body found in a river in the U.K. on Aug. 21 was confirmed to be that of a six-year-old boy who had fallen into the same body of water days earlier, police said.
Lucas Dobson went missing on Saturday, Aug. 17 after he fell into the River Stour in Sandwich, Kent, while on a fishing trip with his family around 1.20 p.m., according to local reports. He is said to have fallen between a boat and a jetty, according to the BBC.
Despite efforts to retrieve him from the water by his father and two other adults, the boy was swept away by a strong current, the BBC reported.
After Dobson’s body was found, his family was notified.
— Evening Express (@EveningExpress) August 21, 2019
“Following the discovery of a body in the River Stour at approximately 9.15am on Wednesday, Aug. 21, formal identification has taken place and I can confirm the body is that of missing Lucas,” Chief Inspector Mark Weller said, according to the Press Association.
“It brings an end to our search and I would like to echo Lucas’ family’s message of thanks to those who came out to help search for him in the last few days. The community support we have witnessed has been heart-warming, even in the most tragic of circumstances.”
“While the search may have ended, our support to Lucas’ family continues,” he added.
Weller added that the boy’s family were “understandably devastated.”
Chief Inspector Mark Weller of Kent Police said: ‘This is a deeply tragic and upsetting incident for all concerned, and Lucas’ family are understandably devastated.’ pic.twitter.com/xEYmBuAvLP
— Simon Jones (@SimonJonesNews) August 21, 2019
“We were inundated with offers of assistance from members of the public, who turned out in large numbers to help search for Lucas,” he added, according to the BBC. “I know his family are very grateful and touched by the support provided, and I too would like to offer my own personal thanks.”
Dobson’s aunt, Maciee Stanford, had earlier said that the outing to the water is a regular activity for Dobson’s dad and his friends.
“[The boy] was with his dad and his dad’s friends along with other children,” she said earlier according to The Mirror. “They fish and do this regularly as it is behind one of the men’s house. All the children play together here.”
She said that when Dobson fell into the water, the adults struggled in their efforts to retrieve the child.
“The current was so strong the three men could barely swim in it,” she said.
— KentOnline (@Kent_Online) August 19, 2019
According to the BBC, more than 200 volunteers—some even came from outside Kent—had joined in the search for the missing boy. Groups including the Kent Fire and Rescue Service, HM Coastguard, the Royal National Lifeboat Institution, and the Specialist Group International dive team had also joined the search.
Specialist search teams are using sonar equipment to search a section of the #RiverStour near #Sandwich in #Kent for missing six-year-old Lucas Dobson. Latest here: https://t.co/hl9sGnNpeb pic.twitter.com/8BhtlAQCJq
— ITV News Meridian (@itvmeridian) August 18, 2019
In a statement posted to Facebook following the confirmation that Dobson’s body has been found, the Warden House Primary School, where Dobson attended, shared a message dedicated to the boy.
“Our school community has been deeply shaken by the confirmation of the death of Lucas Dobson. Thank you to our staff and families who have been supporting the tireless search for Lucas and the warm thoughts and heartfelt prayers they continue to share. We are so grateful for the support given by the staff and families of Warden House and the Kent emergency services. Our hearts are with Lucas’ parents, family, and friends at this harrowing time,” the school’s message read.
“It is now our role to help our school community to honor the memory of this wonderful little boy. We will take each step gently and support our children, families, and community through this troubling time.”