The body of a 12-year-old boy was this morning recovered from a river – seven hours after he disappeared under the water.
Rescue teams spent the night searching for the schoolboy, named locally as Andrew Collings, who was reported missing in the River Cam in Cambridge just after 6pm on Tuesday evening.
It is believed he was playing with a group of friends on a footbridge which is a popular spot for jumping into the water.
Specialist rescue teams, paramedics, four fire crews, a rescue vehicle, five police cars and a police helicopter joined the exhaustive overnight search.
The youngster’s family kept a close vigil by the riverbank until his body was pulled from the water at 3am this morning.
Cambridgeshire Constabulary is not treating the death as suspicious and have passed the case to the coroner.
A police spokesman said: “Police were called at 6.24pm to reports of a 12-year-old boy entering the water near to Lammas Land, Cambridge.
“Emergency services carried out an area search and a body was discovered at 3am this morning.
“The death is not being treated as suspicious.”
Andrew, from Cambridge, is believed to be the son of bouncer Andrew Collings, 43, and Ellan Collings, 37.
Witnesses at the scene on Tuesday evening revealed the boy may have been playing in the river with three of his friends when he got into trouble.
Marina Carnwath, 19, from Cambridge, said: “It’s so extreme. It’s very, very disturbing. I really worry for the family.”
Another witness said: “The police helicopter was up and the firefighters were everywhere. They were going up and down the river looking for a child.
“We heard that four boys had gone into the river but only three came out and one didn’t.”
Another onlooker, who did not want to be named, said: “I was just driving when I saw all the police and fire engines.
“I heard there was a child in the river. It’s a real shame, I feel terrible for the family.”
It is believed the boy plunged into the River Cam in a section of the river that is a notorious swimming hotspot.
A narrow footbridge has been cordoned off on the part of the Fen Causeway which is believed to be the scene of the tragedy.
One river worker said that the bridge is popular with children looking to jump into the river.
The man, who was seen collecting canoes said: “If kids are planning to jump into the river they always jump in off this bridge.”
Tributes began to appear on social network site Twitter yesterday morning after Andrew’s classmates learned of his death.
Kristy Goodsell wrote on the site: “R.I.P Andy Collings x x x” and Annicee Warner wrote: “rip andy collings”.
Another tribute from @Im_Calli read: “Sending Prayers to the family of Andy, a twelve year old who hangs around near my house who has been reported missing in the river cam.”
The search was scaled down shortly after 9pm by the fire and ambulance services, but police continued to search the Fen Causeway underpass all night.
An East of England Ambulance Service spokesman said: “First and foremost our thoughts are with the boy’s family at this tragic time.
“We received a call at 6.11pm and we sent the following resources to the scene.
“The Trust’s hazardous area response team (HART), a Silver Commander, duty manager, ambulance, response car and a medical team from the East Anglian Air Ambulance by response car.
“All were stood down at around 9.45pm.”
Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service were also called to the scene and a spokesperson for the force confirmed they returned to their station just before 9.30pm.
They said: “Two crews from Cambridge, a rescue vehicle from Cambridge, one crew from Huntingdon, a rescue vehicle from Huntingdon and a crew from Cottenham were called to Lammas Land, Newnham, Cambridge, to reports of a person in water.
“The fire service was called by the ambulance service following reports that a 12-year-old boy had entered the water.
“Specialist in-water trained firefighters began a search of the water starting at Fen Causeway and heading about 200m upstream.
“Tethered swimmers and rescue sleds were used by the fire service, which was aided by other emergency services and a police helicopter.
“At 9.10pm the fire service handed the search and rescue operation to Sparten.
“All crews returned to their stations by 9.35pm.”