Massive hunt to find missing pensioner, 72

Scale: Emergency services search the River Ribble at Ribchester for a missing man

Scale: Emergency services search the River Ribble at Ribchester for a missing man

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This was the dramatic scene as search crews descended on a quiet Lancashire village following reports of a missing man.

Police teams and members of the Bowland Pennine Mountain Rescue Team spent hours searching the River Ribble in Ribchester after receiving reports that a 72-year-old man had gone missing.

The Bolton Mountain Rescue Team and Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service were also mobilised.

The pensioner, who is from Goonsargh and is understood to have been classed as a ‘high risk’ individual, had been reported missing to officers on Monday. Ribchester was his last known whereabouts and it is believed he was last sighted near the defunct De Tabley Arms premises.

Search teams travelled to the area from around 9.30pm on Monday night and worked through until around 3.30am. The search then resumed again yesterday morning.

As well as a search of the river, the police helicopter was also mobilised to the area and rescue teams helped scour the village.

Paul Durham, press officer for the Bowland Pennine Mountain Rescue Team, said: “We were called out at 9.30pm on Monday evening to assist with the search for this gentleman. Eighteen members of the team responded and, along with Lancashire Fire and Rescue, search both banks of the river, upstream and downstream, at the place where the gentleman was last seen, which was near the defunct De Tabley Arms.

“We searched through quite difficult terrain in hours of darkness.”

The BPMRT were initially called out again yesterday, but were stood down in the afternoon after police decided they had sufficient resources. The search was continuing yesterday evening. Coun Ian Sayers, who represents Ribchester on Ribble Valley Council, said police activity was “not a frequent occurrence” in the area.