UPDATE: Body discovered in Fenland river in search for missing man

THE body of a man who fell out of his canoe into a Fenland river was discovered yesterday.

Martin McCarthy, 72, of Woodford Green, Essex, fell into the River Great Ouse near The Swan pub, Littleport.

A member of the public saw a body floating in the river at about 5.30am yesterday and immediately contacted emergency services.

The discovery of Mr McCarthy’s body came just a day after the search to find him was called off, after rescue teams failed to find him after 72 hours of searching.

Fire crews joined search and rescue teams and the police helicopter on a stretch of the River Ouse near Branch Bank, Littleport on Monday night in response to reports that a man had fallen out of a canoe.


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It is understood that a child, who was also in the canoe with Mr McCarthy, was pulled to safety but despite frantic searching, the man could not be found.

Specialist Spartan rescue teams, who specialise in emergency search and rescue, continued the hunt throughout Tuesday and Wednesday using boats but no trace of Mr McCarthy was found.

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Mr McCarthy was on holiday with family at Willetts Riverside Campsite in Littleport when the incident occurred.

The incident was originally reported by a member of the public at about 3.30pm on Monday.

A police helicopter from Suffolk was called in along with fire engines from Ely, Littleport and Cambridge. A Spartan rescue support team were also called to the scene.

According to the Environment Agency, permission is required to use a canoe on the River Ouse, which is looked after by the national authority.

Licences spanning from seven days up to a month must be purchased from the EA before a canoe can be used.

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