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Major search operation ends with Blackburn boy, 13, found in loft
A MAJOR search and rescue operation was launched after a 13-year-old boy went missing from his home - only for him to be found in the loft.
Around 40 mountain rescue volunteers, along with police, dog teams, and the police helicopter were alerted when the teenager left a note at his Blackburn home.
His frantic parents raised the alarm at around 9.30pm on Friday and an open window suggested he had fled the Worcester Road home.
Officers became concerned for the boy’s safety because the note led them to believe he would come to harm.
He was reported to be wearing only a pair of pyjamas. Police and the family quickly searched the property before requesting help from Rossendale and Pendle Mountain Rescue Team.
A group of 10 team members joined the search and backup was also requested from Bowland Pennine and Bolton Mountain Rescue Teams, Cheshire Search and Rescue Team and SARDA England, the Search and Rescue Dog Association.
Following the initial search of the boy’s home, a ‘thorough’ hunt was carried out at the same time as the search of the neighbourhood.
Door-to-door enquiries were made and residents were asked to search their gardens as the cold and wet night turned into Saturday morning.
The search was called off at 1.30am when police found him in the loft under piles of belongings.
Officers said it was unclear whether he had been in the loft the whole time.
Graham Daly, from Rossendale and Pendle Mountain Rescue Team, who co-ordinated the search, said: “We were contacted by Lancashire Police shortly after 11pm on Friday and they requested us to assist them in locating a missing 13-year-old boy from Blackburn.
“At midnight we met at the Red Lion pub in Whitebirk Road before heading to the scene.
“At that point, I had 10 team members with me but after arriving on the scene, I discovered that we needed additional resources.
“I put calls into the Bowland Pennine and Bolton Mountain Rescue Teams, along with calls to the Cheshire Search and Rescue Team and SARDA England.
“We conducted a search from the house in a 100-yard radius but before we could go any further, it was reported to us that the boy had been found in the attic of his house.
“If he had not been found, I think around 40 people would have joined the search.
“After the boy was found, I stood down the teams that were already on route to the scene.
“When I was briefed on the incident, I was initially concerned for the boy because I was told that he was in green pyjamas and it was horrible weather outside.
“I was concerned that if we didn’t find him soon then it might become more serious than it was at that point.”
A spokeswoman for Lancashire Police said: “A note was left giving immediate cause for concern for his welfare, and a window had been left open suggesting the boy had left home.
“Police and his family searched his home address and simultaneously an area search was carried out by police and mountain rescue.
“Fortunately, the boy was found safe and well around four hours later by a police officer well hidden within the loft of his home address.”