Dive squad say they'll 'find Nicola Bulley in minutes' if she's in river
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An expert dive squad which has volunteered to join the search for missing mother of two Nicola Bulley has said they will find her quickly if she fell into the river.
Specialist Group International (SGI), which normally charges around £4,000 a day for their expert services, offered to help Lancashire Constabulary in their search 'free of charge'.
Bulley has been missing since 27 January when she was walking her dog, Willow, near the River Wyre after dropping off her daughters at school.
Police believe she went missing in 'a 10 minute window' as she logged onto a Microsoft Teams call at 9:01am which lasted until 9:30 with her phone still connected.
She was last confirmed to be seen at 9:10 by a fellow dog walker and police were able to trace telephone records from her phone from a bench looking over the Wyre at 9:20.
Another dog walker found the phone on the bench with Willow the dog nearby at 9:35, and police teams have been searching the river for signs of Nicola since then.
Joining the search today (6 February) are the volunteer team from SGI led by forensic expert Peter Faulding, who said his dive squad would 'work closely' with the police.
Speaking to the Daily Mirror, Faulding said he and his team would 'find her in minutes' if Bulley had fallen into the river.
Faulding explained that they'd be using an 18,000khz side scan sonar which would 'pick her up straight away' and suggested that if she'd fallen in cold water shock could have 'taken her breath away' and led her to drown.
He said: "If Nicola is in there, we will find her. If she’s there, our sonar will pick her up straight away.
"I will see a body on the bottom. We are dealing with about 10 drownings every summer. We always locate within the hour. It’s that quick, it’s that good."
"Nicola wouldn’t have gone far if she was in this river because it’s got shallows and she would get lodged. There’s no way she would have gone out to the estuary. The river’s not in flood, it’s benign."
Faulding explained that while the police have their own sonar devices to use in the search of the river they likely aren't as powerful as the equipment the SGI can bring to the table.
The forensic expert said his sonar would 'highlight every stick and stone on the bottom' by sending out sound waves.
However, he also said he wasn't sure that Nicola was in the river as there was a strong chance that her body would have floated or that she would have been able to attract someone's attention if she'd fallen in.
Faulding said if she'd drowned and her body been carried downriver they would keep searching, explaining that his team could conduct sonar sweeps of about 10 miles of riverbed a day.
Lancashire Constabulary have said a 'key witness' had come forward and warned people not to engage in 'totally unacceptable' social media speculation about the case.
They said: "The speculation and abuse on social media aimed at some people who are merely assisting our inquiry is totally unacceptable.
"We would urge people to remember that we are investigating the disappearance of Nicola, and the priority is Nicola and her family. We want to find her and provide answers to her family."
Anybody with information can call 101, quoting log 473 of January 27, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.