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Sister's emotional plea for help to find missing 16-year-old brother feared drowned after Thames swimming during hot weather

Mirror Mirror 10/05/2016 By Richard Wheatstone

© Provided by Mirror A teenage boy is feared to have drowned after swimming with pals in the River Thames.

Ellis Downes, 16, was last seen at 9pm on Saturday as he went into the water with pals near Abingdon in Oxfordshire.

Sister Alex, 19, posted a desperate plea for help on Facebook after saying police had scaled back their search.

She said: "As some of you may have heard, my little brother Ellis (16) went missing around 9pm on 07/05/16 while he was swimming in the river with friends in Culham.

"He was pulled under by a current and hasn't been seen since police have been useless and are starting to give up the search already because apparently they 'don't have the resources' but I refuse to give up on him!!

"Looking for volunteers to help with the search, searching the surrounding areas around the river between Abingdon Marina, through Culham towards Sutton Courtenay.

"I will be going there early tomorrow morning, and as many days as it takes after that, to look and it would be much appreciated if any of you could come and help too!

"Please help me bring home my baby brother "

© Provided by Mirror

Police partially closed the river to boat traffic during the initial search for the teenager and water rescue teams continue to search the river today.

Ellis said the search has now been scaled down and her family has been told to expect the worst.

She said: "It's just a horrible waiting game. We need as many people as possible to help find him.

"One of his friends jumped in to try and save him. Now family and friends, everyone from Facebook is out searching.

"[The police] are fearing the worst and thinking it might be more of a recovery of the body."

© Provided by Mirror

Gary Boughton-Smith, manager of nearby Abingdon Marina, said it was not uncommon for people to swim in the area but still very dangerous at this time of year.

He said: "The river is still very cold. When its first hot like this you have to be very careful as you can get cramp through cold."

Thames Valley Police has been contacted for comment.

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