River search for lecturer is called off

An underwater search for a former university lecturer feared dead after a boat carrying six passengers capsized was called off yesterday.

Three women and one man, described as being in their 50s and 60s, were rescued and taken to hospital with minor injuries after the incident in the River Thames, near Shepperton in Surrey, on Sunday evening.

The body of Keith Lowde, 66, was found by police divers on Monday, near where the boat overturned.

The body of his friend, former Cambridge University lecturer Rex Walford, had still not been found yesterday.

A Surrey Police spokesman said a thorough and extensive search by its specialist dive teams had been unable to locate the missing man.

The decision to stand the underwater search down was based on a number of factors including visibility and currents in the water, along with the substantial area of water involved in the search operation, he said.

Instead crews from Surrey Fire and Rescue Service were set to continue to search the water's surface.

On Tuesday, Mr Lowde's family released a statement in which they spoke of their devastation.

It said: "He was a wonderful husband, and a truly amazing father. This tragic accident has left a massive hole in all our lives.

"The response from all our friends, Keith's work colleagues, and his students has been immense and we thank them all for their support and help.

"It is clear that over his life Keith has helped so many people in such a positive way. He will be sadly missed but never forgotten."

Mr Lowde is believed to have been taking his wife and two other couples a short distance from his home on Pharaoh's island in the River Thames to the bank at Shepperton.