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Body in sea at Burnham confirmed as Dylan Cecil
8:52am Monday 20th August 2012 in Somerset
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- Body discovered in the hunt for Dylan Cecil
- Boy reported missing in the sea at 6pm on Sunday
- Helicopters and lifeboats involved in search
- Officials called off main search at around 6pm Monday
- Residents and community members speak of shock
SUNDAY: A minute's silence in memory of Dylan Cecil was held in Burnham.
Hundreds of people joined the four-year-old's parents Rachel McCollum and Darren Cecil in silent tribute to Dylan, whose body was found in the sea on Thursday.
POLICE have confirmed the body found near Burnham Yacht Club on Thursday afternoon is that of four-year-old Dylan Cecil.
An inquest into Dylan's death will be opened in Taunton by the coroner on Tuesday, August 28.
Full police statement from Supt Keith McCoubrey:
"I can confirm we were called at about 12.30pm today by a member of the public to the body of a young boy found on the water's edge near to the yacht club at Burnham-on-Sea.
"The body is still to be formally identified but I believe it to be that of Dylan Cecil who went missing last Sunday evening.
"An intensive search was launched on Sunday and continued throughout the night into Monday morning to try to find the missing boy from Kettering.
"Well-rehearsed plans were rolled out involving the emergency services and agency partners including the police, fire, ambulance, HM Coast Guard, RNLI and Burnham-on-Sea Area Rescue Boat.
"I would like to thank all of these agencies for determination and commitment they demonstrated in their efforts to find Dylan.
"Dylan's parents have been made aware."
Statement from Dylan's family:
"We would like to thank everyone for their help and support during this difficult time.
"We would like to express our gratitude for all the messages of sympathy and support from both the local community and wider public across the nation.
"In particular we would like to thank the people involved in the search – the police, RNLI, HM Coast Guard and the Burnham Area Rescue Boat (BARB).
"We are still extremely traumatised but very grateful that it appears Dylan has been returned to allow us to bury our son."
POLICE have confirmed the body found near Burnham Yacht Club on Thursday afternoon (August 23) is 'believed to be' Dylan Cecil.
Speaking in Burnham a short time ago, Supt Keith McCoubrey said the body had been discovered by a member of the public.
Although the body has not yet been formally identified, Mr McCoubrey confirmed it is believed to be that of Dylan.
THE body of a young boy has been found near the yacht club in Burnham today.
The discovery was made at 12.30pm by officers searching for the body of four-year-old Dylan Cecil, who fell from a jetty on Sunday evening.
Dylan's parents have been informed but formal identification is yet to be carried out.
AN INDEPENDENT water rescue charity will be scanning Burnham’s tides with hi-tech sonar in search of four-year-old Dylan Cecil today.
Specialist SARbot UK Underwater Rescue configured the equipment in a search last night and will be using it to conduct another search today to recover Dylan, who slipped from the jetty on Sunday evening.
The boat has two side scan sonars which are specially designed for the purpose and the equipment includes a robot arm which can recover objects on the sea bottom. It is also designed to operate in zero visibility water.
Further searches of the coast are planned for today.
THE mother of four-year-old Dylan Cecil has spoken of the horror she felt as he was swept into the sea.
Speaking to the BBC, Rachel McCollum said: "I jumped in straight after him, what more could I do? I knew as soon as I jumped in I wasn't getting him back.
"He was literally not even a metre away from me and he was jumping and slipped basically and I watched him fall in, jumped in straight after him, what more could I do?
"It was a whirlpool. It dragged me, I could feel myself being pulled under. I don't know what my son went through, I really don't."
Ms McCollum said her son was "the most gorgeous boy, perfect in every single way".
SEDGEMOOR District Council, which manages the jetty and beach, has sent its condolences to Dylan’s family ans said a review of the facility will be carried out.
A spokesman for the council said: “Burnham jetty is a well-used, working jetty built for the purpose of launching boats and emergency rescue craft.
“There are many warning signs along the beach, Esplanade and on the jetty hut. Beach safety leaflets are distributed.
“The council is satisfied all procedures were followed correctly. As with all tragic accidents of this nature, the council will carry out an internal review to establish all relevant information.”
A MINUTE'S silence will be held in memory of Dylan Cecil in Burnham this weekend, it has been announced.
The town is staging its annual Rescue Services Day on Sunday and members of emergency crews who helped in the search for Dylan will stand for one minute in his memory at 10am.
A spokesman for the event said: "This year's event will be sombre after this week's sad events.
"The day is an essential opportunity to give out safety advice at the height of the summer tourist season.
"It will also be an opportunity for visitors to see the work of our local emergency services at first hand and support them."
Family members of four-year-old Dylan Cecil paid tribute to the little boy last night.
The four-year-old's grandfather David McCollum, whose daughter Jackie is Dylan's mum, told reporters: “We couldn’t have wished for a grandson any better.
“I just want to give thanks to everybody who has helped in the search mission and tried to get Dylan back for us. I can’t say thank you enough really.
“We’re all just devastated.”
A candlelit vigil for Dylan Cecil was held on Burnham sea front on Monday evening after the search attempts were called off.
Dozens of candles were lit for the youngster from Kettering.
Community members in Burnham have spoken of their shock after the search for missing Dylan Cecil, 4, was called off last night.
Dylan fell into the sea from a jetty at about 6pm on Sunday evening and despite extensive recovery efforts his body has not been found.
Jenny West, 67, from East Huntspill, who was at the scene on Monday, said: “My friend said she had a call around 7pm from her boyfriend who'd seen police and an ambulance by the beach.
“She called me around 9pm and said there were helicopters using a spotlight to search.
“It's such a real tragedy. The current is so fast and a few people have said the walkway can be slippery. I feel such sadness for his parents.
“Many people have been volunteering to help and the emergency services have been working very hard.”
Dylan Cecil, aged 4.
OFFICIALS leading the search for four-year-old Dylan Cecil have this evening called off the recovery attempt.
A spokesman for the Coastguard said efforts would not continue overnight and the family of Dylan were 'understandably upset'.
AN EYE witness has described the dramatic efforts by emergency teams to rescue four-year-old Dylan Cecil from Burnham’s tides.
Jeremy Goldsworthy, 51, from Bridgwater was taking photos of the scenery shortly before the tragedy unfolded at the jetty.
He said: “I was taking shots of the lighthouse and such at around 5.30pm.
“I realised it was not a practice exercise around 15 minutes after it happened.
“At around 6.20 the life boats launched and a member of the RNLI stepped in from the slipway to about chest height, tethered to someone walking parallel to him, and began walking about half a mile across the beach.
“An ambulance followed, along with a response vehicle and two police cars. They were there very quickly and by that time a crowd had formed.
“The rescue team had been practicing earlier that day so at first we thought it was part of that. But as more rescue services came we realised it was the real thing.”
Mr Goldsworthy used his camera lens to see if he could spot Dylan, but to no avail.
He added: “I have a four-year-old grandson and we keep a close eye on him because children do tend to zoom off. It was a complete freak accident.”
Mr Goldsworthy would also like to apologise to Dylan’s mother, Rachel, who thought he was taking pictures of her when he was searching the sea for Dylan.
Severn Sector Coastguard manager Tris Newey said the search has been scaled back to a degree but coastguards will continue to search the mud flats.
He added: “There's a chance we'll still be able to find him. We've scaled back the search but it will have to end at some point.
“We've had to contend with a spring tide, which has been moving at a rate or four to five knots.
"The water is very turbulent, making it hard to see through.”
EMERGENCY teams are preparing another search effort for four-year-old Dylan Cecil this afternoon (August 20).
Speaking at the scene this morning superintendant Keith McCoubrey said another search will be conducted at low tide, around 4.30pm today.
When asked about the scene when the incident unfolded last night he said: “The parents were in the water for quite a few minutes. They'd entered the water themselves immediately after.
“The little boy didn't see the edge of the jetty and he stood off thinking it was still there.”
He also cautioned holiday makers to pay attention to safety advice, adding: “Heed the warnings and signs and seek advice if you're not sure.”
More details have come to light about the moments leading up to the time when four-year-old Dylan Cecil fell into the water.
Supt Keith McCoubrey said: "This has been an extremely difficult time for the family who tried in vain to save him and were pulled from the water and treated by ambulance (staff).
"A police family liaison officer is providing support and keeping them updated on the progress of the rescue attempt.
"At some point Dylan wanted to go and see the sea, and get a bit closer to it. They went out on the jetty... and unfortunately Dylan slipped off the edge and went under the water.
"At this time of the year the currents are quite fast flowing and Dylan didn't resurface."
Search teams scouring the beach at Burnham. Photo: Andy Slocombe
Speaking at the scene of the search on Burnham seafront, Superintendent Keith McCoubrey has said Dylan Cecil's parents have been left 'traumatised' by the incident.
He said if no body is recovered on Monday it is expected a smaller-scale search operation will take place on Tuesday.
After Tuesday the search may be abandoned.
The boy involved in the incident has been named locally as Dylan Cecil, of Kettering. His parents are understood to be Rachel and Darren Cecil.
Recovery efforts at Burnham are being scaled down until low tide at 4.30pm.
Lifeboat crews have been called back in and are due to return to sea later on this afternoon.
Members of the community in Burnham have reacted with shock to the news of the tragedy.
Sonia Fudge, who runs the Bay View cafe on Burnham sea front said: "Everyone is really upset by what has happened.
"Everybody is heartbroken and they are all feeling it.
"We were still open when it happened and there were a lot of people around very quickly afterwards."
More than 50 volunteers from the RNLI's three lifeboat stations in Somerset have been involved in the search.
The RNLI teams joined a huge multi-agency search involving lifeboats, coastguard teams, three helicopters and police officers.
At times some RNLI volunteers waded through the water roped together to search. They also used one of the charity’s launching tractors as a platform in order to scan the waters from a height.
During the night the RNLI crews from Weston and Minehead were stood down but the two lifeboats crews from Burnham continued to search.
This morning they have been joined once again by the RNLI volunteers from Weston in their Atlantic inshore lifeboat.
An RNLI spokesman said on Monday morning: "Our thoughts are with the family involved as we continue to assist in the search at Burnham."
An underwater search unit at the scene of the incident in Burnham. Photo: Andy Slocombe
It is understood the family involved in the tragedy is from the Midlands and may have been visiting other family members in Burnham.
Several television crews and reporters from national news organisations have come to Burnham to cover the tragedy.
Search teams scour the sea off the Burnham coast. Photo: Andy Slocombe
Emergency services on the coastline at Burnham on Monday morning as the search for a missing four-year-old boy continues
CREWS from across the South-West are involved in the search for the four-year-old boy.
As well as the Burnham-based hovercraft and lifeboat, sea crews from Clevedon, Weston, Watchet and Portishead have been involved in the search.
Coastguard helicopters have also been helping to scour the sea, including an appliance from Portland in Dorset.
COASTGUARDS involved in the search operation at Burnham have confirmed they are looking for a body.
The missing four-year-old boy is understood to have stepped off a jetty on Burnham seafront yesterday evening (Sunday 19).
His parents remain at the scene watching efforts to recover the body from the water unfold.
Dozens of rescue operatives have been involved in the search, including volunteers from the Burnham Area Rescue Boat.
EMERGENCY services are continuing to search the sea off the Burnham coast for a missing four-year-old boy.
The youngster was reported missing at 6pm on Sunday evening after a member of the public rang 999 having seen the boy's parents struggling in the water.
Lifeboat crews and helicopters have been searching the coastline through the night for the boy, but no body has yet been recovered from the water.