Heartbreaking end to search for eight-year-old boy after he fell out of a kayak on a family holiday


Heartbreaking end to desperate search for eight-year-old boy as his body is found five days after he fell out of a kayak on a family holiday

  • Search for eight-year-old in Western Australia’s south has ended in tragedy 
  • Boy was camping with family and reported missing last Sunday morning 
  • He is believed to have drowned in a kayaking accident after venturing off alone
  • His body was found by divers and recovered from the bottom on Sunday


The body of a missing eight-year-old boy has been found in a desperate five-day search after he fell out of a kayak.

The boy, named Sol, was camping with family at Fernhook Falls near Walpole, about 400km southeast of Perth. 

Great Southern Superintendent Kim Travers released said Sol was found on Friday morning by police divers at Fernhook Falls.

The search for an eight-year-old boy believed to have been in a kayaking incident in a West Australian river (pictured) is now a recovery mission

A land search including 60 State Emergency Service volunteers (pictured) has been suspended

A land search including 60 State Emergency Service volunteers (pictured) has been suspended

She explained the recovery operation was ‘complex’ and body was safely recovered on Sunday morning, two days after it was found.

‘[The recovery] would not have been possible without the mutual trust and respect of the family who have remained on site throughout this recovery operation,’ she said.

Superintendant Travers said police, firefighters, State Emergency Service volunteers, St John Ambulance, and the Conservation Department assisted with the search.

Geological data company Fugro provided the technical expertise and specialist underwater equipment that the recovery possible,’ she said.

Sol was reported missing from the campsite last Sunday morning and police later said he was involved in a boating accident on the river.  

The land search lasted several days with police now focusing on recovering his body from the river

The land search lasted several days with police now focusing on recovering his body from the river

Police divers are searching various sections of the river (pictured). Drones have also been deployed due to low visibility

Police divers are searching various sections of the river (pictured). Drones have also been deployed due to low visibility 

Superintendent Travers earlier said the boy ventured off alone near the top of the falls.

He earlier told his older brother he wanted to paddle through foam on the surface of the water, but was told it was too dangerous.

‘The brother has heard him call out for help and immediately rushed down the little track… but he couldn’t see his brother,’ Superintendent Travers said.

‘What he did see was the little blue plastic kayak lodged in the tree that his brother had (carried) across.’

A short time later, his father located the boy’s jumper jammed underneath a rock.

The family was staying in a cabin at the Mount Frankland National Park and went kayaking over the weekend without any issues.

Police say the boy's brother heard him call out but was unable to locate him, only finding a kayak lodged in a tree

Police say the boy’s brother heard him call out but was unable to locate him, only finding a kayak lodged in a tree

‘They are a loving, caring, very close-knit family. This is a significant trauma for them,’ Superintendent Travers said.

Police divers searched sections of the river and a drone was deployed to search the water, with visibility low after heavy recent rainfall, and a specialist robotic camera was also deployed. This combined eventually found Sol’s body. 

The search area spanned about 200m and includes rapids.

The family had been staying at a cabin in Mount Frankland National Park and had been kayaking without issue over the weekend

The family had been staying at a cabin in Mount Frankland National Park and had been kayaking without issue over the weekend 

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