Third public search for RAF Honington’s Corrie McKeague now concluded at Barton Mills

PUBLISHED: 18:23 19 February 2017 | UPDATED: 18:41 19 February 2017

The latest public search for Corrie McKeague at Barton Mills. Andy King (Suffolk Lowland Search and Rescue) talking with Nicola Urquhart. Picture: PHIL MORLEY

The latest public search for Corrie McKeague at Barton Mills. Andy King (Suffolk Lowland Search and Rescue) talking with Nicola Urquhart. Picture: PHIL MORLEY

Archant

The latest public search for RAF Honington serviceman Corrie McKeague has now concluded at Barton Mills.

Corrie McKeagueCorrie McKeague

Around 100 volunteers gathered from 8am today, which included search and rescue teams from Suffolk, Cambridgeshire, Essex and Norfolk.

The 23-year-old was last seen in the early hours of September 24 in Bury St Edmunds. Later that day a mobile signal from his phone was detected near Barton Mills.

This is the third public search to be organised by Corrie’s family working with Suffolk Lowland Search and Rescue (SuLSAR).

The teams covered a huge area today, between seven and eight square kilometres, according to SuLSAR chairman Andy King.

While he said the search had not discovered anything new, it has helped cross a huge area off the map that had not been searched as thoroughly before.

Corrie’s mother Nicola Urquhart was part of the search along with Corrie’s brothers Darroch and Makeyan.

“I will keep doing it for as long as it’s effective and it’s doing a decent job,” said Mrs Urquhart.

“So many people keep doing it who have done it before and ask to come back again. A lot of people have asked to join SuLSAR.

The latest public search for Corrie McKeague at Barton Mills. Picture: PHIL MORLEYThe latest public search for Corrie McKeague at Barton Mills. Picture: PHIL MORLEY

“I think that’s fantastic. I don’t know why Corrie seems to have got into people’s hearts and minds. He’s such a fit, capable, healthy lad that this shouldn’t have happened to. I think people just think there but for the grace of God. You don’t know what’s around the corner. I don’t know if that’s what it is that makes people want to get involved so much.”

Around 40 volunteers from the public were handpicked by Mrs Urquhart, along with search experts from the various counties. The volunteers were split into groups of five along with a team leader, with 4x4 vehicles on hand to drive the teams out to various locations.

Mrs Urquhart said the searches were difficult for Corrie’s family but hugely important.

“I’m usually alright in the morning,” she said. “It’s at the end that it does my head in. I know when I go out there what I’m looking for.

“I always try to think that he’s still out there and there’s a chance that we’ll find him. Looking for him [today] does mess with my head but how can I ask other people to do it for me if I’m not doing it myself?”

Mr King said different teams covered different search areas.

“Some areas will have foot teams and other areas will have cadaver search dogs,” he said beforehand. “Some of the areas have arisen because of the phone calls the public have been making on Nicola’s numbers.

“That’s where suggested places were picked up on. There are a few of those that we feel are possible and we feel could happen.”

A reward of £50,000 had been offered by Corrie’s family over the past few months for any information that could lead to him being found.

On February 11 Mrs Urquhart announced the reward, which was donated by an anonymous couple from Bury, was to be withdrawn on February 18 (yesterday). A number of tip lines were set up once the reward was announced.

Do you have any information?

Anyone with information about Corrie’s disappearance is asked to call the incident room at Suffolk police on 01473 782019.

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