A boy who vanished in the sea on one of the hottest days of the year is no longer expected to be found alive.
An air and sea search for a four-year-old boy who went missing in the sea off the Somerset coast is now an operation to recover a body, the Coastguards say.
Four lifeboats, five coastguard rescue teams, police and the RAF helicopter have all been looking for the boy, who disappeared at Burnham-on-Sea after going into the water off a slipway.
The boy’s parents frantically tried to rescue him after he entered the water on the south side of a slipway on Sunday evening, but were unable to reach their son.
A member of the public witnessed their desperate attempts and called the emergency services.
A Swansea Coastguard spokesman confirmed the status of the operation: “The boy will have been in the water for 16 hours now. It is a recovery mission, and the search is continuing.”
The Maritime and Coastguard Agency said a search – initially involving a helicopter, Coastguard rescue teams and two lifeboats – began after the alarm was raised.
“The parents of the child have been treated on scene after they went in after the boy and required medical treatment for water ingestion,” a Maritime and Coastguard Agency spokeswoman said.
“A member of the public dialed 999 at 6.04pm to inform Swansea Coastguard that they had seen two adults go in the water to attempt to rescue a small child and that they needed medical assistance.”
A Coastguard spokesman said the air and sea search was scaled back at dusk but continued throughout the night, with more resources added at first light.
Police said divers will attend the area to conduct a further search and a cordon remains in place.