Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Frantic Search as Girls Go Missing; Heroic Efforts by Public Fail to Reach Teens

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Frantic Search as Girls Go Missing; Heroic Efforts by Public Fail to Reach Teens

Article excerpt

Byline: Rachel Wearmouth? 0191 201 6477 ? rachel.wearmouth@ncjmedia.co.uk

RESCUE teams continued a frantic search for a missing teenage girl last night after a body was pulled from the River Wear.

Two 14-year-old girls had got into difficulty in the river at Fatfield, Washington, at around 3pm.

Police confirmed shortly after 9pm that search dive teams had recovered one body.

But they pledged to continue the search "as long as we have to".

Emergency services raced to the scene, near the Biddick Pub, after the girls were spotted in the water.

Two men - an off-duty policeman and a member of the public - had tried to save the girls, but were unable to reach them.

The teens are believed to have been playing in the water with a group of teenage boys before they got into difficulties.

Police divers and fire crews in a dinghy combed the river, which is tidal at the point the girls vanished, while helicopters scanned the area. Officers were focusing their search on the 200m up and down stream from the pub, but the Coastguard had also been alerted.

Scores of people, including members of the teens' distraught families, gathered at the water's edge but as the light began to fade the mood turned increasingly sombre.

And at 9.05pm last night, a police spokesperson confirmed the search team had recovered one female body from the water.

Around 100 emergency service personnel were involved in the search. Supt Alan Veitch, of Northumbria Police, said: "There were two people on the banks who saw the children in difficulty.

"One was an off-duty police officer going for a run who dived in and saved a boy who was trying to save one of the missing girls.

"Another gentleman dived in and swam the width of the river to get to one of the girls but he came up empty-handed. He was distraught, as you can imagine.

"Family liaison officers are with the parents and they are distraught and need a lot of support and we are providing them with every assistance we can. …

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