Four-year-old boy lost at sea fell into a 'whirpool', says mother

 

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The Independent Online

The mother of a four-year-old boy lost at sea after falling from a seafront jetty has spoken of the moment he disappeared under the water, saying she knew immediately that she would not see him again.

Rachel McCollum told how Dylan Cecil fell into a "whirlpool" after slipping while just a yard away from her and his father during a family holiday.

She dived straight into the muddy waters after him following the accident on Sunday, she told the BBC.

"He was literally not even a metre away from me and he was jumping and slipped and I watched him fall in," she told the broadcaster.

"I jumped in straight after him - what more could I do? He went, I knew as soon as I jumped in I was not getting him back.

"It was a whirlpool, it dragged me, I could feel myself being pulled under so I don't know what my son went through."

She thanked everyone who had searched for his body and implored people not to give up looking for her "gorgeous" and "bubbly" little boy.

"I just want my son back," she added.

"He is coming back, he's definitely coming back. I just don't want him to be lost out there and not come back at all."

Dylan was on holiday with his family when he walked on to the 19th century jetty in Burnham-on-Sea, Somerset, to get a closer look at the sea.

The youngster, from Kettering, Northamptonshire, was visiting his grandparents in nearby Brean with his mother, father Darren Cecil and two younger sisters, aged one and three.

But he slipped off the side and disappeared beneath the muddy water at around 6pm.

His parents desperately tried to rescue him, but were unable to reach their son and had to be pulled from the water by passers-by.

A large search and rescue operation was launched by the coastguard and police after a member of the public saw Dylan's parents attempting to rescue him.

But the search for Dylan, who was dressed in a T-shirt and shorts, was called off at 4.30pm yesterday.

A growing pile of flowers, cuddly toys and tributes has been placed on the sea wall next to the jetty.

Last night hundreds of candles were lit at the scene in his memory.

Earlier today a Facebook page carrying a post apparently pretending to be from Dylan was removed after his mother said she had been "destroyed" by the comments.

Writing on her own Facebook page, Ms McCollum said: "How low can people be? I tried saving my son and a page (is) set up speaking like they are him.

"I'm distraught he is still missing at sea, I aint slept at all and to find someone pretending to be my son has destroyed me even more."

The page on the social network site was set up in Dylan's name and had two posts.

The first said: "This is a memory page of Dylan that sadly lost his life, lets show the family we're thinking of them and sending our love. x."

A second post read: "To my mum, my daddy and sisters and sea side grandparents I love you all am in heaven waiting on you all. I'll be looking down on you :-) x SENT FROM THE RAINBOW AND FLOWERS AND SUNSHINE IN HEAVEN...X."

A spokesman for Facebook said: "The account in question has been removed as it violated our terms and conditions.

"Impersonating others is against our terms, and we encourage people to report such activity to Facebook via the reporting links located on every page of the site."

The waters off Burnham-on-Sea have one of the highest tidal rise and fall ranges in the world and the shoreline is notorious for its dangerous mudflats.

The local authority, Sedgemoor District Council, said today that it was satisfied that all its procedures were followed correctly and there are many warning signs along the beach, esplanade and on the jetty hut.

But it said it is also carrying out an internal review "to establish all relevant information".

PA

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