UPDATE: Body discovered in search for missing man

POLICE confirmed this morning (Thursday) that the body of a man had been discovered in a river in Littleport.

Officers said a member of the public saw a body floating in the River Ouse near The Swan pub at about 5.30am and immediately contacted emergency services.

Formal identification has yet to take place but it is believed that the body is that of a 72-year-old man who fell out of his canoe into the river on Monday.

A spokesman for Cambridgeshire police said: “A body was discovered by a member of the public this morning but there has not yet been any identification. Officers have been in contact with members of the family.

The spokesman added that officers had informed colleagues across the border in Norfolk of the incident.

The news comes just a day after the search to find the man was called off after rescue teams failed to find him after 72-hours of searching.

Fire crews joined search and rescue teams and the police helicopter on a stretch of the River Ouse near Branch Bank, Littleport on Monday night in response to reports that a man had fallen out of a canoe.

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It is understood that a child, who was also in the canoe with the man, was pulled to safety but despite frantic searching, the man could not be found.

Specialist Spartan rescue teams, who specialise in emergency search and rescue, continued the hunt throughout Tuesday and Wednesday using boats but no trace of the man was found.

It is believed that the man, who police have said is not from East Cambridgeshire, was on holiday with family in the area when the incident occurred and was staying at a local caravan park.

The incident was originally reported by a member of the public at about 3.30pm on Monday.

A police helicopter from Suffolk was called in along with fire engines from Ely, Littleport and Cambridge. A Spartan rescue support team were also called to the scene.

According to the Environment Agency, permission is required to use a canoe on the River Ouse, which is looked after by the national authority.

Licences spanning from seven days up to a month must be purchased from the EA before a canoe can be used. It is unclear whether the man had a licence at the time of the accident.