A four-year-old boy has died in “unexplained” circumstances after being found in a swimming pool during a holiday organised by the Narcotics Anonymous charity.
The child was reported missing on Monday afternoon, sparking appeals on social media and a large search operation in .
“Following an extensive search assisted by the police helicopter, the child was located in a swimming pool at Knapp House Activity Centre,” a spokesperson for Devon and Cornwall Police said.
“He was taken to North Devon District Hospital, where he was pronounced deceased.
“Officers are investigating the circumstances and the death is currently being treated as unexplained.”
Police said the missing report was received shortly before 3pm on the bank holiday, which saw warm temperatures and sunshine across the south coast.
Relatives of the child, who has not been named, have been informed as inquiries continue.
He is understood to have been on the last day of a week-long camping holiday organised by the Devon branch of Narcotics Anonymous.
A spokesperson for the organising committee said the event, for former drug addicts, charity workers and their families, had been running for six years and saw members enjoy local attractions and celebrate “complete freedom from drug and alcohol use”.
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“One of the activities we organise with Knapp House is the supervised use of their swimming pool with their trained lifeguards,” he added.
“Very tragically something has gone horrifically wrong and a young child of one of our members drowned in the pool.
“We are not aware of the exact details of how this happened and the police are obviously investigating.”
The spokesperson said the committee was “devastated that a truly wonderful week has ended so tragically”.
“We find all attempt at expressing our sorrow and concern for the parents and siblings of this child inadequate, but as is normal in our fellowship, they will have plenty of support as they face their tragedy,” the statement added.
“In Narcotics Anonymous, we share no specific religious beliefs, but the entire campsite formed a circle, held hands, and prayed for the family and their lost child.”
A spokesperson for Knapp House Activity Centre, which provides activity courses for children, did not immediately respond to The Independent’s request for comment.
Anyone with information is asked to contact police on 101, quoting reference 593 of 28/08/17.