28/04/2012 07:37 BST | Updated 28/06/2012 06:12 BST

River Wear Missing Boy: Durham Police Name 8-Year-Old Boy As Ian Thomas Bell

The eight-year-old boy who fell into the River Wear while playing with friends last night was today named by Durham Police as Ian Thomas Bell.

The boy is believed to have fallen into the Wear, near Willington, in County Durham, at around 7pm yesterday.

Emergency services scoured the area after the alarm was raised, with the RAF and a mountain rescue team continuing the search overnight.

A Durham Police spokesman said: "Police are continuing their search today for a missing eight-year-old boy who fell into the River Wear, near Willington, last night.

"The incident happened at around 7pm last night, near to the Brown Trout pub, which is in close proximity to the river.

"It is believed the boy, from Sunnybrow, was playing with his friends when he fell into the water.

"A specialist underwater search and rescue team is also assisting with the search."

Janice Larnach, the owner of the Brown Trout pub, said the area had experienced heavy rainfall during the last week and the River Wear was flooded.

She said the boy's brother had told search teams he saw his sibling fall and grab on to a tree branch, which then snapped.

Mrs Larnach said: "His brother said he saw him fall in, hang on to a branch and that snapped but he hasn't been found up to now.

"It happened just as we were opening and we've had a full-scale search in the area."

She said she believed the boy's bicycle had been discovered on the river bank.

Mrs Larnach added: "We've had heavy rain for a week. It hasn't rained today but the river's really in flood."