The body of a second boy has been found by police searching the Swan River in Perth with fears for the life a third after a group of five teenagers jumped into the water while being chased by officers.
Police revealed overnight the body of one teenage boy had been recovered from the water on Monday night.
They issued an update this morning confirming another teenager had been found dead.
“Tragically, Water Police have recently located a second body believed to be that of the second teenage boy who was unaccounted for after search efforts that commenced in Maylands yesterday afternoon,” a police spokesman said.
WA Police Commissioner Chris Dawson confirmed five teenagers were in the group being chased by police and said they were still searching for a third boy, after confirming two members of the group had been recovered alive from the river.
“We believe he was last seen on foot on the foreshore on the Maylands side of the Swan River,” Commissioner Dawson said.
“We are hopeful that he did not enter the river.”
Boys accused of ‘jumping fences’
Officers had been called to Tranby Road about 3.15pm on Monday when it was reported youths were “jumping fences” in the suburb of Maylands.
The Commissioner said police were conducting “proactive patrols” when they were flagged down by a member of the community who alerted officers about the boys’ activities.
Officers found and chased the boys, four of whom they saw run into the river.
Commissioner Dawson said Tactical Response Group (TRG) officers who happened to be nearby joined them when they saw the events unfolding.
He said Water Police and the TRG “rib”, an inflatable boat, were deployed.
Commissioner Dawson said two boys were recovered closer to either bank, but another two got into difficulties in the middle of the river and went underwater.
He said “several” officers went into the river, but was not sure exactly how many.
Fifth boy’s welfare is primary concern
The Commissioner declined to comment on reports of a house being ransacked nearby.
“I think any matters concerning offending need to be put squarely to one side,” Commissioner Dawson said.
Our primary concern is the welfare of all families and, of course, the fifth boy who we’re yet to locate.
“We want to establish his welfare, so that’s our primary concern.”
Commissioner Dawson said the families of the deceased boys had requested he not release any particulars about them, something he would respect.
Their deaths would be treated as deaths in police presence, which are treated the same as a death in police custody.
The state’s coroner will prepare a report on the incident.
The search has involved specialist officers from the police Mounted Section, Water Police and Police Air Wing, along with SES volunteers.
The boat ramp on Clarkson Road and the nearby car park have been closed to the public as the search for the fifth boy continues.