River tests in search for missing boy

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THE PARENTS of a teenager who went missing from Doncaster in 2007 have welcomed news his remains are not in the river Thames.

Pioneering sonar scanning technology has been used to scour the Thames in the hunt for Andrew Gosden.

Mum and dad Kevin and Glenys Gosden have not seen him since he left home nearly four years ago and have been searching for him ever since.

But now they say the possibility of his body being in the river has been ruled out. It is believed to be the first time the underwater search method has been used in the hunt for a missing child, after so long.

The sonar scanning technology - pioneered by Yeovil-based company Liquavision - was used to search the bed of the Thames. Although the scan revealed the wreckage of a sunken boat and an upturned car, no human remains were discovered. Kevin said: “Around Christmas we received news that a new piece of sonar scanning technology would be used to scan the Thames river to establish if our son might be found there. “It was a friend who pointed out to me that when the good news for your family is an opportunity to perhaps find your child’s remains and therefore some sort of closure, it places the rest of your life firmly in perspective.

“Certainly, it speaks powerfully of the never-ending nightmare that life becomes for those missing a loved one. “Could they have been suicidal and hidden it from you? Could your child have been abducted, murdered, trafficked? Could some terrible accident have befallen them?

“These possibilities are the ones that remain in the minds of the parents of a missing child, try as they might to push them aside.

“And so it came about, through the efforts of a friend and the generosity of Liquavision, that we were the first parents of a missing child in the UK to carry out a search of this sort.”

A specialised sonar scanner developed to identify bodies was used to search the Thames from the Woolwich Barrier to Tower Bridge. As a result, the family now know Andrew’s body is not in the river.

Kevin said: “This does not resolve the ongoing question of where he might be, but we can take encouragement from the idea that he is more likely, perhaps, to be alive.”

Andrew was aged 14 at the time of his disappearance and was last was seen heading to McAuley School from his home on Littlemoor Lane, Balby on September 14, 2007. He never arrived, and was last seen on CCTV at Kings Cross Station in London later the same day.

Kevin and Glenys remain determined to discover what happened to their son. They couple have scoured London in a bid to find him.

Thousands of posters were distributed and Andrew’s favourite rock band Muse have supported the hunt.