Diving expert in Nicola Bulley case explains why he didn't find body during river search

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By Phoebe Egoroff

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The diving expert who led an underwater search team in the case of missing UK mother Nicola Bulley has explained why he was unable to locate her body during the river search.

Bulley was last seen on Friday, January 27, after dropping her two daughters - aged six and nine - off at school. Taking her springer spaniel Willow for a walk along River Wyre in St. Michael's On the Wyre, Lancashire, the 45-year-old mortgage advisor logged onto to a Microsoft Teams conference call at 09:00 AM.

By 09:30 AM, the team call had ended, though Bulley's phone reportedly remained logged on. One hour later, a passer-by discovered the local mother's phone on a bench next to the river, while the family dog was running around in a distressed manner.

Since then Lancashire Police have taken on the enormous task of finding out what happened to Bulley, who they have hypothesized fell into the river and drowned.

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Police search teams near the bench where Nicola Bulley's phone was found. Credit: PA Images / Alamy

Peter Faulding - CEO and founder of expert diving group Specialist Group International (SGI) -  has been vocal about his opinions on the Lancashire Police hypothesis, disagreeing that the mother drowned in the river.

"After 25 years of doing this kind of work, after hundreds of cases, I am well and truly baffled. Normally you would expect the divers to find them easily," Faulding stated, further explaining that when a person drowns they "generally go down where they are", with search teams normally finding their bodies within five to 10 meters of where they fell in.

After three days of working to locate Bulley, Faulding called off his team's search on February 8. Then, when a body was located on Sunday (February 19), he said (via The Independent): "All I can say is when we searched she was not on the bottom of that river [...] We weren't searching the reeds, our job was to search the water."

Faulding further elaborated on this, telling ITV today (February 20): "I can hand on heart say we did our best, but she was not on the river bed, we would have seen her clearly."

The body was spotted by a couple who were walking by the river, spotting it within the reeds close to a road before calling police and leading them to the location.

Formal identification of the body has yet to be confirmed.

The discovery of a body comes amid intense criticism of how the Lancashire Police have handled their investigation into Bulley's disappearance, with significant scrutiny stemming from the fact that personal details about the mother's reproductive health were shared so publicly. Many people took issue with this aspect in particular as they felt that this wasn't necessary for the investigation.

The Lancashire Police felt differently, claiming that the details they revealed made Bulley a highly vulnerable person.

Featured image credit: Peter Byrne / Alamy

Diving expert in Nicola Bulley case explains why he didn't find body during river search

vt-author-image

By Phoebe Egoroff

Article saved!Article saved!

The diving expert who led an underwater search team in the case of missing UK mother Nicola Bulley has explained why he was unable to locate her body during the river search.

Bulley was last seen on Friday, January 27, after dropping her two daughters - aged six and nine - off at school. Taking her springer spaniel Willow for a walk along River Wyre in St. Michael's On the Wyre, Lancashire, the 45-year-old mortgage advisor logged onto to a Microsoft Teams conference call at 09:00 AM.

By 09:30 AM, the team call had ended, though Bulley's phone reportedly remained logged on. One hour later, a passer-by discovered the local mother's phone on a bench next to the river, while the family dog was running around in a distressed manner.

Since then Lancashire Police have taken on the enormous task of finding out what happened to Bulley, who they have hypothesized fell into the river and drowned.

wp-image-1263193730 size-full
Police search teams near the bench where Nicola Bulley's phone was found. Credit: PA Images / Alamy

Peter Faulding - CEO and founder of expert diving group Specialist Group International (SGI) -  has been vocal about his opinions on the Lancashire Police hypothesis, disagreeing that the mother drowned in the river.

"After 25 years of doing this kind of work, after hundreds of cases, I am well and truly baffled. Normally you would expect the divers to find them easily," Faulding stated, further explaining that when a person drowns they "generally go down where they are", with search teams normally finding their bodies within five to 10 meters of where they fell in.

After three days of working to locate Bulley, Faulding called off his team's search on February 8. Then, when a body was located on Sunday (February 19), he said (via The Independent): "All I can say is when we searched she was not on the bottom of that river [...] We weren't searching the reeds, our job was to search the water."

Faulding further elaborated on this, telling ITV today (February 20): "I can hand on heart say we did our best, but she was not on the river bed, we would have seen her clearly."

The body was spotted by a couple who were walking by the river, spotting it within the reeds close to a road before calling police and leading them to the location.

Formal identification of the body has yet to be confirmed.

The discovery of a body comes amid intense criticism of how the Lancashire Police have handled their investigation into Bulley's disappearance, with significant scrutiny stemming from the fact that personal details about the mother's reproductive health were shared so publicly. Many people took issue with this aspect in particular as they felt that this wasn't necessary for the investigation.

The Lancashire Police felt differently, claiming that the details they revealed made Bulley a highly vulnerable person.

Featured image credit: Peter Byrne / Alamy