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Boy, 5, dies after being swept four miles down fast-flowing river
Rescue teams launched a desperate search to save him (Picture: Pacemaker)

A five-year-old boy who was swept more than four miles down a river has died in hospital.

He was eventually pulled out from the Braid River in Ballymena, County Antrim, in Northern Ireland, by rescue teams earlier today.

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A major search was launched after the child fell into the fast-flowing river at around 1pm.

He was rescued more than 45 minutes later and immediately airlifted to hospital, the Community Rescue Service said.

Sean McCarry, regional commander of the organisation, said: ‘He got swept away quite fast with it, he was travelling quite a distance.

Boy, 5, dies after being swept four miles down fast-flowing river
The boy was swept four miles down the river (Picture: Pacemaker)

‘He was doing a mile in under 15 minutes.’

Mr McCarry said rescuers were ‘running desperately’ after the boy, while a police helicopter watched from above.

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‘The police were co-coordinating and telling us where we needed to go to next and we were just trying to get ahead of him in the river,’ he said.

‘Eventually that happened and he was pulled out of the river and put into the air ambulance.’

The youngster spent more than 45 minutes in the water and travelled a minimum of four miles down the river, Mr McCarry said.

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‘Our thoughts go out to the family and we hope it will be a good outcome,’ he added.

The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) said in a statement: ‘A young child pulled from the Braid River in Ballymena earlier today has passed away in hospital.

‘The five-year-old boy fell into the water at around 1pm today.

‘A major search and rescue operation was launched involving police, Fire and Rescue personnel and Community Rescue volunteers.’

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

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