Exclusive by Alan Quick
A MAJOR search operation was underway at Newton St Cyres, near Crediton, last night, Wednesday, March 8, where an elderly man was reported as missing.
The man was said to have stopped his car on the top of the river and railway bridge near The Beer Engine public house and Newton St Cyres Railway Station before leaving the scene.
A member of the public reported the man missing at about 7pm and a full-scale search involving all partner agencies was begun.
This included fire crews from Crediton, specialist Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue teams, Dartmoor Rescue teams, Ambulance crews, local Neighbourhood Police officers and specialist police and ambulance teams.
The Devon and Cornwall Police helicopter was also involved in the search.
At 10.50pm the Exeter-based police helicopter crew confirmed it had been called up and had returned to base but that fellow police officers and other search specialists remained at the scene.
Divers and boats were used to search the river Creedy in the area.
Roads were closed from Sweetham, towards Shobrooke and from the A377 at Newton St Cyres to the area near Newton St Cyres Recreation Ground.
The car was not moved from its position atop the bridge while the search continued, resulting in no vehicle movements across the bridge.
At midnight the search was scaled down and it is due to resume fully in daylight this morning, Thursday, March 9.
Devon and Cornwall Police Sgt Emma Storey-Barrett, the Force Lost Person Search Manager, speaking to the “Crediton Courier” at the scene at midnight, said that the search was “still a negative”.
She added: “With our partner agencies we have conducted a water search as well as a land search in the area.
“A member of the public reported the vehicle parked on the bridge.
“We are searching to ascertain the welfare of the elderly gentleman.”
She thanked all those who had been involved in the search until that time and said it was anticipated that the search would resume in daylight.
Police officers and other agencies are to remain at the scene throughout the night.