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Search for missing toddler who fell into Leicestershire river continues

Missing boy’s father was hospitalised after entering the River Soar to try and save him

Holly Evans
Monday 19 February 2024 21:17 GMT
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Specialist divers search River Soar for missing two-year-old Leicester boy

A major search and rescue operation continues after a two-year-old toddler fell into a Leicestershire river while out with his family.

The boy was reported missing on Sunday evening after falling into the River Soar in the Aylestone area, with his father entering the water to desperately try and save him. He was taken to hospital following the incident as a precautionary measure, but has since been discharged.

Emergency services, including water rescue teams, were called to the area near Marsden Lane shortly after 5pm, with additional specialist teams joining the search on Monday.

Specialist divers have been involved in the search for the missing toddler (PA)

Leicestershire Police have since received support from Nottinghamshire, Lincolnshire and the Met police forces, with the force also making use of helicopter and aerial technology.

In their latest appeal, the force asked for members of the public who had spoken to officers since Sunday to come forward again.

They also requested that a dog walker who had been walking along the footpath near the Packhorse Bridge to come forward to assist the police with their enquiries.

His father was hospitalised after entering the water to try and save him (PA)

Assistant Chief Constable Michaela Kerr said: "Our priority for Leicestershire Police is to make sure we find the little boy.

"I would like to thank members of the public for their support yesterday.

"But, at the same time, I’d like to really emphasise how dangerous this area is at the moment and ask that members of the public do refrain from coming back to this location for their own safety."

She added that the toddler had been with his family at the time of the incident, and that they were receiving support from specialist officers.

Assistant Chief Constable Michaela Kerr said their ‘priority’ was finding the boy (PA)

Ongoing searches for the boy have been made difficult by recent heavy rainfall and high river levels, which has made the operation challenging for emergency services.

Ms Kerr said: “That’s one of the reasons why it’s so important to us that we don’t have members of the public attempting any search, because it does require real skill in order to do so safely. I am confident we will find him. We are doing everything we possibly can.”

A long-standing resident whose home overlooks Aylestone Meadows said flooding from the River Soar in recent weeks had left parts of the nature reserve in a treacherous state.

The woman, who walks regularly in the area, said a nearby canal and the river sometimes “go into one” during peak flooding periods.

“It’s fast-flowing,” she said of current conditions. “It’s been quite bad. It’s devastating to think how they (family members) must be feeling.”

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