Tyne & Wear

Boy, 8, missing in River Wear named as Ian Bell

Ian Bell, who went missing in the River Wear
Image caption Ian is thought to have fallen in after a tree branch he was holding snapped

A boy who is missing after falling into the River Wear in County Durham has been named by police.

A specialist underwater team has been searching for Ian Bell after he disappeared on Friday night.

Ian, of Sunnybrow, was playing with friends near Willington, Crook when he fell from an embankment near the Brown Trout pub at Prospect Place.

RAF and mountain rescue teams have also been involved in the search for Ian, now missing for more than 24 hours.

The owner of the Brown Trout said Ian's brother had told search teams his sibling grabbed a branch, which then snapped.

Janice Larnach said: "His brother said he saw him fall in, hang on to a branch and that snapped but he hasn't been found up to now, " she said.

She added there had been heavy rain in the area for a week and the River Wear was "in flood".

A police spokesman said: "Police are continuing to work with the local community and are in regular contact with Ian's family. The search will continue into the evening."

Mrs Larnach added that she believed the boy's bicycle had been discovered on the river bank.

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