Authorities have recovered the body of a 6-year-old British boy who accidentally fell into a river while on a fishing trip with his father, prompting an exhaustive rescue effort.
Lucas Dobson was found in the River Stour on Wednesday morning, four days after he was swept into the water while fishing in Sandwich, Kent Police confirmed in a statement.
“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,” Chief Inspector Mark Weller said. “The community support we have witnessed has been heart-warming, even in the most tragic of circumstances.”
Weller went on to thank the Kent Search and Rescue, Kent Fire and Rescue Service, HM Coastguard, the Royal National Lifeboat Institution and the many volunteers who aided in the search efforts.
Dobson fell into the water around 1:20 p.m. on Saturday, police said.
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His father, Nathan, and two other men leaped into the river in an effort to save him, but were unsuccessful due to an intense current, according to U.K. outlet The Mirror.
“Lucas was on the [dock] and tried to step from there onto the boat, but he fell in between the [dock] and the boat,” his aunt Maciee Stanford told the outlet. “The current was so strong the three men could barely swim in it.”
Stanford added that the group regularly fished together, as the water is situated behind the house of one of the men.
“All the children play together here,” she said.
The relentless search efforts were chronicled online by Kent Search and Rescue officials, who posted daily Facebook updates about their progress.
“As our volunteers prepare for another day of searching, we’d like to say how overwhelmed we are from the local community and our supporters from across Kent for their donations to support the search for Lucas,” a post from Tuesday read. “We have decided to directly invest this money in equipment which will help in the ongoing search activity.”
Upon news that his body had been recovered, Warden House Primary School, where Dobson was a student, released a statement addressing the tragic end of Lucas’ life.
“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 statement 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.”