Bid to swim for help cost boy his life

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The Independent Online
Relatives of schoolboy Christopher Scott said yesterday they believed the 11-year-old died trying to swim for help for his two non-swimming friends when they became trapped on treacherous mudflats.

As the search for Nathan Sawyer and Ian Smye, who are still missing, was called off a second time as night fell yesterday, more details emerged about their tragic outing. The trio had set out for a Sunday bike ride on the bleak Lincolnshire coastline of the Humber Estuary.

The area, south-east of Grimsby, is criss-crossed by gullies which can be swiftly filled by the incoming tide and it is feared that the boys became trapped and then swept away. Hopes have virtually disappeared that Nathan, aged nine, and Ian, who would have been 10 yesterday, will be found alive.

The alarm was raised by their parents when they failed to return home, but it was not until the next day that the body of Christopher was spotted by a rescue helicopter crew.

A post-mortem examination was being carried out yesterday; police say they believe he drowned.

Valerie Scott, Christopher's grandmother, Valerie, said she thought that Christopher had died trying to save his friends. "I believe that the other two could not swim and Christopher could. We think he tried to come back and get help. He would have tried to save his friends because he was like that and they were all very close."

She said the boys knew that the mudflats were dangerous., but added: "They were aware but I don't think they really understood what danger is. This is just a terrible thing to happen."

Prayers were said at a special assembly yesterday at the boys' school in their home village of North Coates.

A police underwater search team joined the hunt yesterday and will be involved again today when the search resumes. An RAF helicopter and specially trained dogs will also be used.

Coastguard John Harrison admitted that hopes of finding the boys alive had passed.

"After this length of time it is highly unlikely," he said.