Volunteer search and rescue dog handlers were involved in the hunt for missing Honington airman Corrie McKeague today, as police continue to appeal for any sightings of him.
Members of the Anglian branch of the National Search and Rescue Dogs Association have been working with teams from the police, RAF and the volunteer Suffolk Lowland Search and Rescue in the two-week long search of the airman.
On Tuesday and again on Wednesday the dogs were being used for searches along a route parallel to the A134 from Honington to Fornham St Martin.
Corrie was last seen on CCTV in Brentgovel Street, Bury St Edmunds, at about 3.20am on September 24 and police are still going through hours of footage to see if they can find out if and how he left the town. Corrie would often walk the 10 miles from Bury to Honington where he serves with 2Sqn RAF Regiment.
Suffolk Police are still trying to trace his missing phone and are appealing for all who saw him in Bury on the night of September 23/24 to come forward. Click here to see what help the police need
NSARDA Anglia is made up entirely of volunteers working in co-ordination with the police. Searches are led by trained search co-ordinators and the dog and handler teams are backed up by navigators who help keep track of what areas have been searched, look out for hazards, keep up radio communications and do many other things to enable the dog team to do their job.
Currently they have Labradors and springer spaniels and their crosses, German shepherds, border collies and a dobermann pinscher.
The dogs do not just follow trails on the ground but ‘air scent’ to pick up smells in the wind, so they can follow scents across waterways or find someone in the undergrowth without having to follow their route into it.
Suffolk Police said this evening that extensive ground and air searches have been carried out, including looking at waterways in the area, and they have consulted national experts to ensure everything possible is being done through searches and other work to find him.
Police a number of people seen on CCTV have been identified but there remain a small number who may have seen or spoke to Corrie during the course of the evening who have not yet been traced.
A spokeswoman appealed to people who were in the town that night: “Did you speak to Corrie – who was dressed in a pink shirt and white jeans, and who spoke with a Scottish accent – during the course of your night out?
“At least one person who police have spoken to during the course of enquiries said Corrie told them he was planning to walk home. Did you see him, speak to him, or offer him a lift?”
They say anyone who saw or spoke to him could have a small piece of information that may help piece together what happened.
Work is still going on to examine the CCTV footage seized, to see if there are any further confirmed images of Corrie’s movements after 3.20am.
Officers are also re-visiting possible routes from the town centre to see if any other footage may be available. If you have private CCTV or if you took mobile device photographs or footage in Bury St Edmunds on the morning of Saturday September 24 officers are asking you to review it to see whether any images may include Corrie and call the incident room on 01473 782019 if you think you have anything that can help.
Police say they are keeping an open mind on what has happened to Corrie, and continue to investigate all possibilities.
This includes the possibility that Corrie may have attempted to walk home but not been captured on CCTV, that he has willingly gone with someone else, perhaps in a vehicle, or that something else may have happened.
At this stage they say there is no evidence of criminality and nothing to indicate any third party involvement. However, this continues to be subject to the ongoing investigation and nothing can be ruled out at this time.
Police and Corrie’s family are thanking all of those who have supported and assisted with the enquiry to date, including the RAF, Suffolk Lowland Search and Rescue, the National Search and Rescue Dog Association, the National Police Air Service helicopter, members of the public who have come forward and who have circulated messages, businesses and organisations displaying the missing poster and landowners who have checked their fields in the bid to find Corrie.
Anyone with information should call the police’s incident room on 01473 782019.
You can report anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or at www.crimestoppers-uk.org
You can download a PDF of the police Corrie appeal poster to print and display here.
To find out more about NSARDA Anglia or donate to them click here.