Lake searched as missing 13-year-old boy is named
Youngster Ryan Evans has been missing since getting into difficulty in Westport Lake in Stoke-on-Trent on Monday.
A 13-year-old boy missing after getting into difficulty in a lake has been named by police.
Police divers are continuing to search a lake where Ryan Evans was last seen, after being spotted in distress in the water.
A Nottinghamshire Police dive team and shoreline search groups in drysuits have been combing the extensive Westport Lake in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, for a second day after the alarm was first raised at 5pm on Monday.
Naming the local youngster, Staffordshire Police said Ryan’s family were “distraught and devastated”, as the search continued.
Chief Inspector John Owen said: “It is a lad by the name of Ryan Evans, who’s 13 years old – he is a local male.”
He added: “It is something no parent should ever go through.
“We need to make sure they (the parents) find out the information before anybody else.
“We’re giving them all the support they need. That’s my primary focus.”
Staffordshire Police said the underwater search was taking place in “extremely difficult conditions” at one end of the lake, where a witness last spotted the boy.
Efforts to locate the youngster started immediately following a 999 call on Monday evening, after three young males got into difficulties after going into the lake, officers said.
Two of the youngsters managed to get out of the water before emergency services arrived, but the third is still missing.
@staffspolice together with partners including @StaffsFire @OFFICIALWMAS— Staffordshire Police (@StaffsPolice) June 26, 2018
and specialist underwater teams are currently at Westport Lake to resume the search for a missing child this morning. Please allow them to continue the search uninterruptedhttps://t.co/N5yewsO3xo pic.twitter.com/zRA9KeYv5A
Earlier, Mr Owen said a “systematic” search of the lake was now taking place.
He added: “We received a call just before 5pm of three young males in distress in the water.
“Two have made it out – we’re still looking for a third at this time.”
The other two youngsters, aged 12 and 13, were uninjured and are being supported following their ordeal.
Police were called by a witness who had spotted the children at the north end of the lake, near where it is bordered by the path of the Trent and Mersey Canal.
Mr Owen said: “We received a call there were males in the lake, we’ve arrived, two of the young males were already out – one male wasn’t out.
“Clearly, we need to pull somebody out safe and well.
“We’re on the following day (now), we’ve got specialist search teams here now searching the area, and searching the lake.”
The lake’s size and underwater conditions have presented difficulties in which to carry out the operation, the officer said.
He said: “The divers are going to be working in murky conditions.
“Speaking to local fishermen here, it’s extremely reedy and weedy at the bottom, they’re working in extremely difficult conditions.”
Mr Owen added: “It is an extremely large lake and I can’t give timescales at all.
“We need to be thorough, we need to be systematic and we need to do things properly.
“In essence, sometimes it’s a pace to make sure we don’t miss things.”
The officer said it was impossible to comprehend what the missing boy’s family were going through, and they were being supported.
The search for the missing 13-year-old continues today at Westport Lake, Stoke-on-Trent. We are continuing to work with @StaffsPolice @OFFICIALWMAS @nottspolice and our other partners. More here: https://t.co/6ylwnTEQzW pic.twitter.com/iH0bizTotl— Staffordshire Fire & Rescue Service (@StaffsFire) June 26, 2018
Group manager Brian Moss, of Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service, said: “At approximately 5pm yesterday afternoon we were called to a report of three young people who were in distress in the water.
“Two of those young males did manage to get out of the water, and then an emergency call was made to report a third person was missing.”
Emergency services have assembled an extensive team, including a specialist West Midlands Ambulance Service team and a Staffordshire fire brigade team, equipped with boats and waders.
A volunteer group, Staffordshire Search and Rescue Team, is also assisting what Mr Moss called a “methodical search”.
He said: “It’s an extremely difficult task because of the clarity of the water.
“Some places we’ve got shallow, clear water, but other areas we’ve got reed beds and the depth of the water increases, so the visibility diminishes.
“So that becomes a bit more difficult for searching.
“Depending on location, the search pattern is becoming broader and more difficult.”
The lake is a legacy of coal mining associated with the area’s historic potteries and industrial trade, though the fire brigade said it was the “clarity and size of the lake that’s proving the difficulty”.
The body of water sits above the old Brownhills Colliery and was formed in 1884, when the workings hit the water table, flooding the tunnels and ground above.
Mr Moss urged people not to give in to the “temptation” to go into rivers and open water during hot days.
Tuesday’s search finished shortly after 10pm and is due to resume on Wednesday morning.