Devastated family of missing dog walker who was swept away by river turns to Nicola Bulley diver Peter Faulding

3 May 2023, 18:43 | Updated: 3 May 2023, 23:05

The family of missing Hazel have called in Peter Faulding for help after his prominent role in searching for Nicola Bulley
The family of missing Hazel have called in Peter Faulding for help after his prominent role in searching for Nicola Bulley. Picture: Alamy/Social media

By Will Taylor

The family of a missing grandmother who is feared to have died in a river have got help from a diver who was part of the search of Nicola Bulley.

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Hazel Nairn has been missing since November, when she fell into the River Don near Monymusk in Aberdeenshire during severe weather.

The body of her pet West Highland terrier was found by her daughter Anneka Gray five days after Hazel vanished.

But there has been no trace of the 71-year-old ex-air hostess despite a search by police and volunteers.

Now, Ms Gray says the family has received help from Peter Faulding, who was part of the search for Nicola Bulley.

Read more: Nicola Bulley coroner 'unimpressed with police' as they return to River Wyre but force slams 'misinformed speculation'

He searched the river at St Michael's on Wyre in Lancashire after the missing mother vanished from its banks while walking her dog, but failed to find her.

After initially ruling out her falling in the river, her body was found along the river by chance by dog walkers.

Hazel has been missing since November
Hazel has been missing since November. Picture: Social media
Nicola Bulley disappeared while walking her dog in Lancashire
Nicola Bulley disappeared while walking her dog in Lancashire. Picture: Handout

Ms Gray said on social media: "Still no sign of my mum - not one single trace since that awful day. Experts say she is more than likely to be still in the river, but we just can’t rule anything out.

"Any trace of her could be anywhere. We are getting into the water ourselves on kayaks throughout May.

Read more: Nicola Bulley diving expert Peter Faulding proud of work despite being 'cut from National Crime Agency list'

"Anyone experienced that can do that with us - or anywhere on the River Don or even just walk the river side again - is a help. We have got help from Peter Faulding, so I am feeling more optimistic."

Mr Faulding had to defend his search and his organisation, Specialist Group International, as they were removed from the National Crime Agency's list of specialists.

He had initially ruled out her being in the water and later had to deny giving Ms Bulley's family false hope when her body was discovered in the river. He said he had not searched the reeds where she was found.

Peter Faulding searched part of a river for Nicola Bulley
Peter Faulding searched part of a river for Nicola Bulley. Picture: Alamy

He said: "SGI’s operational ability, integrity and professional search and rescue capabilities are not in question in these matters.

"We are proud of our record in specialist search and rescue operations, conducted over many decades...

"During which we have worked with police departments and other agencies to the high standards expected of nationally recognised specialists."

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