Alice Gross: RAF joins search for missing schoolgirl

Police confirm that air force equipment has been used in search, joining ‘largest search since 7/7’

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The Independent Online

The RAF has joined the search for missing schoolgirl Alice Gross, who has not been seen since the end of August.

Metropolitan Police confirmed that the RAF has provided what it calls aerial analysis, using cameras to investigate ground for whether it has been disturbed.

"We can confirm that as part of the search operation, the RAF has provided assistance in the form of aerial analysis to identify potential areas of interest to officers,” the Metropolitan Police said.

The search — which police have described as the largest since 7/7 — has so far involved officers from units including the Metropolitan Police’s underwater search team and air support, and police forces from around the country.


The news of the RAF’s involvement came as thousands of runners were set to wear yellow ribbons as they ran in a half marathon in Ealing, west London, where the teenager lived.

Police are hunting for prime suspect Latvian builder Arnis Zalkalns, who has been missing since September 3. But police have stressed that the Latvian is just one line of inquiry.

The teenager left her home around lunchtime on August 28, and was last seen on CCTV crossing a bridge at 4.26pm that afternoon.

Police identified Elthorne Park in London as an area of interest earlier this week, following a detailed police reconstruction and an Gross.jpgemotional family plea. But police said later that the area was no longer of interest.

The reconstruction led to 150 phone calls from members of the public.

The last sighting of the teenager was as she was crossing a bridge in the park. Detectives have searched a canal near the area, and said last Monday that they had discovered a knife in the river.

Police divers search the river Brent for clues in the hunt for missing school girl Alice Gross in London

Police are also combing through hours of CCTV footage in an attempt to establish the schoolgirl’s whereabouts.

“CCTV is clearly crucial in our investigation, but we still need the public's help and I want to hear from anyone who saw Alice during the afternoon of the Thursday she was last seen,” said detective superintendent Carl Mehta. “Our searches are continuing in the local area today, and there are extra officers involved. I'd like to thank the community who have been so supportive and patient.”