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Man drowns on river Thames

What Happened
What Caused
Adverse environmental conditions
Casualty type/Qty
Causal Factors
Adverse weather
Injury Details
Accident suspected

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Description of Incident
THE family of a man who drowned in a riverboat accident on the Thames near Shepperton have described him as a "wonderful husband and truly amazing father".

The body of Keith Lowde, 66 - who was a music business tutor at the Academy of Contemporary Music in Guildford - was found by police divers on Monday.

Dr Rex Walford, a 70-year-old professor from Cambridge University, is still missing after underwater searches on Tuesday proved fruitless.

The pair were with their wives Jennifer and Wendy and another couple when the boat they were in overturned in the freezing water at about 7.30pm on Sunday.

The vessel was travelling from Mr Lowde's luxury home on Pharoah's Island to the riverbank on the mainland.

Three women and one other man were helped to safety and taken to hospital to be treated for minor injuries, hypothermia and shock.

Mr Lowde's family released a statement saying: "We are all devastated by the loss of Keith.

"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."

The statement added: "At this time our very dear family friend [Dr Walford] is still missing, and our prayers remain with him and his family.

"We would like to say a massive thank you to all the emergency services that have been fantastic throughout this terrible time and who are continuing to search in difficult circumstances."

An underwater search team from Sussex Police spent another 10 hours trying to find Dr Walford on Tuesday before low visibility meant the operation had to be called off.

A statement from Surrey Police said: "Following advice from the specialist dive team and search experts, Surrey Police will not be continuing the underwater search for a second man missing after a boat capsized in Shepperton on Sunday.

"The Sussex Police Specialist Search Unit carried out a thorough and extensive search of a stretch of water off Pharoah’s Island on both Monday and Tuesday but have been unable to locate the missing man.

"This operational decision was based on a number of factors including visibility and currents in the water and the substantial area of water involved in the search operation."

A team from Surrey Fire and Rescue Service was due to carry out a search of the surface of the water on Wednesday.

Dr Walford was a former head of the Univeristy of Cambridge's Department of Education, a past president of the Geographical Association and a former vice-president of the Royal Geographical Society.

He was appointed to the university in 1973 having previously taught in Twickenham.
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