A robot to search the body of a boy in the WA river

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A specialized robotic camera will be used to search for the body of an eight-year-old boy who allegedly drowned while kayaking in southern Western Australia.

The boy was camping with his family at Fernhook Falls near Walpole, about 400 kilometers southeast of Perth.

He was reported missing from the campsite on Sunday morning after police later said he was involved in a boating incident on the river.

A ground search that lasted several days and involved more than 60 state emergency service volunteers has been suspended, and police are now focused on retrieving his body from the river.

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Superintendent Kim Travers said the boy ventured near the top of the falls on his own on Sunday morning.

He had told his older brother earlier that he wanted to paddle in the foam on the surface of the water, but he had been told it was too dangerous.

“The brother heard him call for help and immediately rushed down the small track… but he couldn’t see his brother,” said Superintendent Travers.

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“What he saw was the little blue plastic kayak housed in the tree that his brother had [carried] on the other side.”

Soon after, his father found the boy’s sweater stuck under a rock.

The family had stayed in a cabin at Mount Frankland National Park and had been kayaking on the weekends with no issues.

“They are a loving, caring and close-knit family. It’s a significant trauma for them, ”said Superintendent Travers.

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Police divers searched sections of the river and a drone was also deployed to search the water, with low visibility after recent heavy rains. A specialized robotic camera will also be deployed.

The search area is approximately 200 meters long and includes rapids.

-AAP

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