The team's van at the scene of the search overnight. Photo: DSRT Ashburton

The team's van at the scene of the search overnight. Photo: DSRT Ashburton

Rescue team members spent six hours overnight looking for a missing teenager who may have jumped in a Devon river.

Dartmoor Search and Rescue Team Ashburton was called out at 10pm on Friday to help in the search for 16-year-old Nathan Wood in the area around the River Dart north of Totnes.

A member of the public reported seeing a teenage boy naked and in a distressed state running towards the river in the Swallowfields area of the town. The Paignton boy had been out with a group of female friends.

Devon and Cornwall Police said they believed Nathan may have taken a psychoactive substance, commonly incorrectly known as a ‘legal high’.

DSRT Ashburton said its volunteers searched the South Devon Railway heritage line and other areas where the teen might have been, without success. Coastguard and Royal National Lifeboat Institution crews searched the water areas.

A DSRTA spokesperson said: “Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service decided to wait for daylight to put boats in the water following their risk assessment, departing around 1am following searches earlier that evening.

“[Maritime and Coastguard Agency] personnel continued riverbank searches alongside the Police dive team until around 2am. DSRT Ashburton members were stood down around 5am having exhausted regions of woodland and field systems identified as high-probability areas.”

The team’s duty search manager said: “DSRT Ashburton covered a lot of ground overnight during the 6-hour deployment, which focused on high-probability areas around the ‘point last seen’ for the lad.

“Missing person behavioural analysis was less predictive in this instance, due to the reported use of new psychoactive substances. However, the areas targeted included minor roads, tracks and trails, dense woodland, steep ground, river-bank and flood-plain areas, and parts of the Totnes to Buckfastleigh branch-line.

“The team remains on alert to assist if required.”

Missing Paignton teen Nathan Wood

Missing Paignton teen Nathan Wood

The operation to find Nathan Wood continued on Saturday. He was last seen at the Dartington Hall end of the River Dart and the back of King Edward the Sixth Community College, about 6pm.

Inspector Tracy Sharam, based at Torquay police station, said: “A member of the public called police reporting that he had seen a teenage boy naked and in a distressed state, running towards the river.

“He was seen running through a field near the school and although no-one actually saw him enter the water his friends heard a splash.

“Officers have been searching the area, including the river, however he has not yet been found.

“He may have been under the influence of a potential new psychoactive substance and we are becoming increasingly concerned for his welfare.”

Police are appealing for anyone who has seen Nathan to get in touch. He is described as being about 5ft 6ins (1.68m) in height, of slim build with gingery fair hair, a long fringe and fair skin.

Anyone with information is asked to call police on 999 quoting reference 775 of 5 August.

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