Five-years-old boy passes away after falling into river

Emergency operation.
Emergency operation.

A five-years-old boy rescued from the Braid following a multi-agency emergency operation in Ballymena this afternoon has passed away in hospital.

Inspector Shaft Ali said: "I would like to thank everyone involved in the search effort and extend my sincerest condolences to the family at this time."

Emergency operation.

Emergency operation.

The PSNI said the young boy fell into the Braid at approximately 1.00 p.m. and spent up to two hours in the river.

He was recovered from the river shortly after 3.00 p.m. after which he was airlifted to the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children, according to a spokesperson for the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service, who said: "The thoughts of all involved in the rescue are with the young boy and his family."

Sean McCarry, from the Community Rescue Service (CRS), which was involved in the rescue effort, told the BBC earlier that the boy "accidently fell into the River Braid near the Ecos Centre at Ballymena and was quickly swept downstream".

Mr. McCarry continued: "Despite valiant efforts by rescuers form PSNI, the CRS and Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service (NIFRS) the child was carried a considerable distance downstream in the fast flowing river.

"A police helicopter continuously relayed the child's position to the rescue teams as they frantically leapfrogged each other in attempts to keep up and complete a rescue.

"As a result of the professional coordination of the responding rescuers, a child was recovered some miles downstream and immediately transferred to the awaiting air ambulance."