Thursday, 26 November 2015

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Man missing in Cumbrian estuary was 'trying to save dog'

Police have confirmed that a missing man last seen in a Cumbrian estuary was most likely trying to rescue his dog.

Ravenglass estuary photo
Emergency services at the estuary

A major search for 76-year-old John Allen is continuing in the Ravenglass area, with underwater search teams currently working in the estuary. There will be a further shoreline search tonight at low tide.

Inspector Mark Wear, from Cumbria Police, said: “Mr Allen has been missing for over 24 hours now, and this is very out of character for him. If anyone has seen someone matching his description in the Ravenglass area I would urge them to get in touch as soon as possible.

“Following enquiries we do not believe Mr Allen was swimming in the estuary yesterday morning, but may have been trying to help his dog out of the water. The dog is fine, however Mr Allen has not been seen since.

“We had around 100 people out searching for Mr Allen last night, and we are appealing to the local community to get in touch with any relevant information they may have.”

Police were called at 9.05am yesterday after concerns were raised for the safety of the pensioner, from Preston, who had been seen swimming at Ravenglass estuary.

Coastguards say they received a 999 call from a member of the public who reported seeing Mr Allen up to his chest in the water before attempting to swim across the estuary.

He soon disappeared from view but his dog made it back to shore and was barking for his owner.

Mr Allen is described as 5ft 8in tall, of slim build and bald. He was wearing a green fleece, green suede trousers and walking boots.

Police, the Coastguard, a helicopter from RAF Valley in Anglesey, an inshore lifeboat from Workington and St Bees lifeboat have all been involved in the search along with six fire crews - two from Whitehaven, two from Workington and one each from Seascale and Egremont.

A spokesman from Liverpool Coastguard said: "We received a report that somebody was trying to swim across the estuary with a dog. It is a big search.

"We are making sure that the area is getting well and truly searched."

Paul Parkes, watch manager at Liverpool Coastguard, said: “We are currently coordinating a large-scale search and doing all we can to find this missing man.

“If anyone was in the area earlier this morning and has information on this swimmer, please call Liverpool Coastguard on 01519 313341.”

Rescue teams say the search area was being expanded to cover the River Esk, River Irt and River Mite.

Anyone who may have seen Mr Allen should call police on 101 and ask for the duty sergeant at Whitehaven.


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