Divers Search River After Mother Mysteriously Vanishes Mid-Phone Call

Photo by PAUL ELLIS/AFP via Getty Images

Emily Cope Contributor
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A specialist team of divers has been drafted to search for a missing woman who disappeared alongside a riverbed in rural England while on a work call, according to a statement from the dive team.

Nicola Bulley went missing the morning of Jan. 27 while walking her dog alongside the River Wyre in St. Michael’s on Wyre, Lancashire, after dropping her two daughters off at school, the BBC reported. The dog was found roughly 25 minutes after Bulley was last seen by another dog walker, according to the outlet. The pet was running around untethered “in an agitated state,” CBS News reported.

Soon after, the 45-year-old mortgage advisor’s cell phone was found on a bench near the isolated riverbank, still logged into a work conference call, according to the BBC.

Lancashire police said they believe Bulley somehow fell into the water, but friends and family are questioning this hypothesis after the investigation has come up short of evidence, the outlet continued.

“Our main working hypothesis, therefore, is that Nicola has sadly fallen into the river, that there is no third-party or criminal involvement and that this is not suspicious, but a tragic case of a missing person,” police superintendent Sally Riley said in a statement, according to CBS. (RELATED: Woman Falls Into Colorado River, Drowns)

Bulley’s sister, Louise Cunningham, argued there was “no evidence whatsoever” of that hypothesis in a post on Facebook, the BBC reported.

Bulley’s family members said there are no footprints or scuffs in the mud that point to an alleged fall into the water. Bulley’s father, Ernest, told CBS he worried his daughter had been abducted.

An expert underwater rescue team, Specialist Group International (SGI), joined the search Monday after police were unable to find any evidence of Bulley over a week after she was last seen, according to the outlet.

Peter Faulding, a forensic expert and chief executive of SGI, said the sonar detection technology used by his team would be able to find “every stick and stone lying on the riverbed,” CBS reported. The search included divers, drones and helicopters, but no further signs of Bulley have been found at the time of writing, according to a Tuesday report from the BBC.

“In my 20-odd years of doing this, I have worked on hundreds of cases [and] I have never seen anything so unusual,” Faulding told the outlet.

“If it is a case of her being in the river, then chances of survival are probably very slim,” a friend of the family, Luke Sumner, told the BBC. “But we have no evidence to say that she has gone into the river.”