Beds, Herts & Bucks

Great Ouse river search: Woman's body found

Crews searching for missing woman Image copyright SBNA
Image caption The search resumed this morning for the woman, said to be in her 30s

Police searching for a mother-of-three, who went missing while playing with her children in a river, have found a body.

The woman, named locally as Leanne Gordon, is said to have got into difficulties while diving off small islands in an area of the Great Ouse off Honey Hill Road, Bedford.

Police were called to the river, which has been described as "dangerous and unpredictable", on Thursday evening.

They confirmed the body of a woman in her 30s was found on Friday morning.

It followed searches by specialist dive teams.

Updates on this story and more news from Bedfordshire

Image copyright Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service
Image caption Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service continued their search until 23:00 BST last night

Bedfordshire Police said the woman's three sons, aged between three and 10, had been left "distressed" by the "tragic accident".

"We have mixed reports but she was here having a picnic with her family, that we do know for sure, with her three children," Ch Insp Nick Lyall said.

"At some point she's gone into the river to help somebody that's in distress and we know now the tragic results of that.

"I believe the children were playing by the side of the river but at the moment we are still trying to piece the rest of the circumstances together.

"The main witnesses are her young children."

Image copyright SBNA
Image caption Officers resumed their search in the early hours of Friday

Neighbour Joe Vacchio said the woman lived around the corner from the river and had been diving into the water with her three children.

He said he heard screams before police and a helicopter arrived.

The river, he said, was "murky" and had holes up to "20ft deep", with the shallow part of the river being around knee or shin height during hotter summer months when families play in it.

He added there were no warnings or signs telling people to be careful or not to swim.

He said: "I have lived here 20 years and I've never been in that river. It's very, very dangerous and very, very unpredictable," he said.

Image copyright SBNA
Image caption A police dive team arrived from Norfolk on Friday to assist the operation

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