Searchers find body in hunt for missing Reading canoeist

Searchers find body in hunt for missing canoeist who ‘fell out of his boat’ just yards from exclusive Reading neighbourhood

  • Police said they have found a body in the search for a missing canoeist
  • Elderly man slipped from his canoe near Caversham Bridge on Wednesday 
  • His boat was found floating down the river but the man has not been located 
  • It has not been made public whether the body of a man found is that canoeist 
  • The man’s death is being treated as ‘unexplained but not suspicious,’ police said 

Searchers have found a body in the hunt for a missing canoeist who is feared drowned after he ‘fell out of his boat’ in the fast-flowing River Thames. 

The elderly man, who has not been identified, slipped from his canoe on Wednesday and disappeared beneath the surface of the river in the exclusive neighbourhood of Caversham, Reading. His boat was later found floating downstream. 

On Thursday night, a Thames Valley Police spokesman said: ‘A body has been located in the search for a missing man in the River Thames. 

‘Yesterday, Thames Valley Police were called to a fear for welfare incident at the River Thames near Caversham Bridge. A man had entered the water but wasn’t seen to leave.’

According to witnesses, the canoeist had set off from the nearby Reading Canoe Club at 11am yesterday before making his way to Caversham Bridge.

Passers-by then heard a ‘loud splash’ and reportedly spotted the empty boat, with nearby fishermen and members of the club later joining a search. 

Police are today searching for a missing canoeist who is feared drowned after he ‘fell out of his boat’ in the fast-flowing River Thames more than 24 hours ago. Pictured: The search today

On Thursday night, a Thames Valley Police spokesman said: ‘A body has been located in the search for a missing man in the River Thames 

Police on Thursday said the body of a man had been recovered and his next of kin has been informed. It has not been made public whether the body has been identified as that of the missing canoeist. 

The man’s death is being treated as ‘unexplained and not suspicious,’ police said, adding that a file will be prepared for the Berkshire coroner.

The body was taken to the mortuary at the Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading where a pathologist will conduct a post mortem examination later to ascertain the exact cause of death.  

Thames Valley Police thanked ’emergency services, local residents and Berkshire Lowland Search and Rescue who assisted our officers’ in the search.

Earlier on Thursday, specialist divers were seen aiding Thames Valley Police in their efforts today, alongside Berkshire Lowland Search and Rescue.  

Witnesses in the upmarket neighbourhood reported spotting the canoe floating down the water moments after the alarm was sounded on Wednesday.

Houses close to the river in Caversham sell for up to £1.2million.

Earlier on Thursday, specialist divers were seen aiding Thames Valley Police in their efforts today, alongside Berkshire Lowland Search and Rescue 

Fisherman Peter Godfrey said: ‘There was a man in a canoe who fell into the river. I found out when a man cycled down and asked if I had seen the man who had fallen in.

‘They were searching for him but it was not long before the emergency services got here. They were searching for him up and down the river for a long time. They were just going backwards and forwards for hours.

‘I never saw the man but I spotted the canoe drifting downriver.’

Those on the banks of the nearby Warren reported seeing an air ambulance and police helicopter hovering about the water amid the frantic search yesterday.     

George Scott said: ‘It was just before 1pm that I saw the police boat was out on the water. 

‘Apparently a member of the public had heard a loud splash and they had spotted the empty canoe and raised the alarm.

‘There were three fire engines and an incident commander from the fire service as well as police, ambulance, the air ambulance and then police helicopters.

‘They found the canoe but they could not find the man. The helicopter was hovering 50ft above the water looking for him. They were looking for a good while.

‘There were even three paramedics in the water as well as a boat from the fire service and police.’ 

It is understood the missing man is a member of the Reading Canoe Club.

The club yesterday closed and flew a flag at half mast.   

A note on the gates said: ‘Due to an incident, activities from the club are cancelled today. We are thinking of all those affected by today’s events.’

Passers-by heard a ‘loud splash’ and reportedly spotted the empty boat, with nearby fishermen and members of the club later joining a search

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