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Boy missing after he 'fell into the Thames from Tower Bridge'
23 April 2021, 15:12
A schoolboy has gone missing after he fell from Tower Bridge and into the River Thames in London, according to the executive principal at his school.
Police in the area have been rigorously searching with helicopter and marine units, but the Year 8 schoolboy has yet to be found.
The Ark Globe Academy pupil was reportedly travelling with a friend on a bus on Tuesday morning but did not arrive at the south London school.
According to reports from The Sun, eyewitnesses heard screaming before a woman jumped into the water in an attempt to save the boy.
In a letter to parents on Wednesday, executive principal Matt Jones said the boy did not make his way into school on Tuesday despite travelling on a bus with a friend in full school uniform.
He got off the bus near Tower Bridge before his usual bus stop, and then "fell" into the River Thames, Mr Jones said.
Mr Jones said in his letter: "It is with worry that I share news about (the pupil's name), a Year 8 student at Ark Globe Academy.
"On the morning of Tuesday April 20, (he) did not make his way into school despite travelling on a bus with a friend in full school uniform.
"He got off the bus near Tower Bridge before his usual bus stop nearest to Ark Globe Academy and fell into the River Thames.
"At this moment in time, police are treating this case as a 'missing persons' incident."
The Sun reports that eyewitnesses heard screaming before a woman jumped into the water in an attempt to save the boy.
She reportedly used a life-float to swim into the Thames, but was only able to recover his school jacket and school bag.
The Sun report states she said 'why isn't anybody helping him' before jumping in herself.
The Academy told LBC that the wellbeing of students was "of paramount importance" and "all staff are trained to identify mental health concerns".
It said: "The students’ safety and wellbeing are of paramount importance at Ark Globe.
"Following the distressing news this week, Ark Globe has additional professional counsellors on site to support students through this difficult time.
"Common to all Ark Schools, Ark Globe has a Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL), who receives training from the local authority and supervision from partners such as Place2Be and Healthy Minds to identify and act on all mental health concerns.
"Via the DSL and support from Ark, all staff are trained to identify mental health concerns and to create an environment where students know that they have someone to talk to about their worries should they need to."
City of London Police confirmed it was leading an investigation into a missing person, linked to an incident where a child fell into the river from Tower Bridge.
The force said despite an "intensive search" by officers, helicopter and marine units, the boy had not yet been found.
A City of London Police spokesperson said: "We believe this is linked to an incident where a child fell into the Thames from Tower Bridge.
"Despite an intensive search by City of London Police, the police helicopter and marine units, this person has not yet been found.
"We ask anyone who witnessed anything on Tuesday April 20 at 8.09am, to call us on 020 7601 2999, quoting reference 21000215310."
Mr Jones said in a statement on Friday that the student did not arrive at school on the morning of April 20.
He said: "This is obviously distressing news for the young person's family, friends, and the wider Ark Globe Community.
"As a school community, we are dealing with this sensitively so as not to compromise the integrity of the police investigation and we wish to respect the privacy of the family while the investigation is ongoing.
"Our hopes and prayers are with the family at this very difficult time."