Underwater search expert Paul Faulding shared he had to "hold back the tears" in the search for Nicola Bulley.

The CEO of rescue operation Specialist Group International went live with the True Crime Newsquest on Wednesday, February 8 at 5.30 pm.

Nicola Bulley disappeared on January 27, 2023 and was last seen on a footpath in St Michael’s on Wyre where her phone was found on a bench.

Paul Faulding was called in by the family and met with her partner Paul Ansell on Wednesday, as day 12 of the search continued.

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Mr Faulding and his team have been searching the area around the bench, the “entry point” where it is believed by police Ms Bulley fell in the water.

The expert share that it was an "extremely sad" and "upsetting" experience of meeting with Nicola's partner Paul Ansell and that he had to "hold back the tears" on Monday.

Faulding explained that the only evidence  - that his team are privy to  - is her phone on the bench and her spaniel's harness - which he said: "led the police to rightfully look at the river".

Speaking to Mark Williams Thomas, Mr Faulding explained that there are "lots of meandering parts of the river" and a "few snag hazards" where a body can become caught. 

Faulding's team had been tasked by the police with searching specific areas from where Nicola's phone down had been found up to a mile up the river.

The area had already been searched twice by police underwater search teams including the day Nicola went missing.

Three days into his search, Mr Faulding has said that he can be "100% sure" that "that part of the river is completely clear and there's no sign of Nicola."

Speaking after completing the search today, the team said: “Well, Paul’s extremely obviously upset, he wanted to go and see where the original entry point was again, and the water’s a bit lower than it was originally when Nicola went missing.

“And he’s, he’s clear that, well all the family are clearly distraught like anyone will be.

“And it’s just, it’s not a nice place to be.

“And I’m just trying to explain what work we’re doing. And give him some confidence that Nicola is not in that river over there.

“Normally we find them, this is an unusual situation.

“And hopefully Nicola will appear somewhere or pop up somewhere, I don’t know.

“But with that, I’m, I’m totally baffled by this one, to be honest.

“Normally a drowning victim goes to the bottom. There was a bit of flow on the river that day. But normally we recover them within a few metres.”

He said his team had one small section of the river to check again later on Wednesday but after that, his involvement in the search would be over.

The 10 miles or so of the river downstream of the bench, where the River Wyre empties into the sea at Morecambe Bay is now being searched by teams from Lancashire Police and the Coastguard which includes divers.

Superintendent Sally Riley, of Lancashire Police, described the search as “unprecedented”, with 40 detectives following 500 lines of inquiry, with thousands of pieces of information coming in from the public.

Officers have been trying to trace dashcam footage from 700 drivers who went through the village on the morning Ms Bulley disappeared.

However, Supt Riley ruled out criminal or third-party involvement on Tuesday during a press conference.

Ms Riley also reiterated the police’s belief that Ms Bulley had fallen into the river, with her body still unrecovered and police treating the incident as a missing person inquiry.