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‘Body sighting’ in Nith sparks major hunt

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By Fiona Reid
Dumfries and West
‘Body sighting’ in Nith sparks major hunt

A MAJOR operation was launched in Dumfries yesterday - after reports of a body spotted in the River Nith.

Scottish Fire and Rescue, Police Scotland, Nith Inshore Rescue and HM Coastguard responded in force following a sighting near to St Michael’s Bridge yesterday morning.

A police spokesman said: “At about 11 am we received a call from a woman saying she saw what she thought was a body floating down the River Nith past St Michael’s Bridge in the town.

“A large-scale search was stood up involving police, fire, coastguard, Nith Inshore and the police helicopter and they searched the river downstream and also a large part of the estuary as it goes out into the Solway.”

The spokesman added: “At this stage we’ve drawn a blank and the search was stood down.
“We’ll now carry out what’s called a watching brief, keeping an eye on it as the water goes down, as the water was quite high.

“But we’ve not recovered anything at this stage.”

If yesterday’s sighting was borne out, this would be the third body found in the River Nith this year.

In February, the body of homeless man Bryan Cowie, 41, was recovered after a major operation lasting several days, while only last month the body of 60-year-old Susan McClelland from Southerness was taken from the waters near Castledykes Park.

Although yesterday’s search was stood down, HM Coastguard say that people should not hesitate to phone in case of an emergency.

Stewart Bryden said: “We don’t want to discourage people from phoning in, if it’s all done with good intention.

“If anybody spots anything suspicious to do with anybody in or near the water, then I certainly haven’t got a problem with them contacting emergency services to deal with it – because you just never know.”

Praising yesterday’s operation, he added: “There were a lot of resources put into this one, so I think, hopefully, they’re learning from previous jobs in the River Nith that they do need resources on the ground.”


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