Search launched at Aberavon Beach after 12-year-old boy goes missing twice in as many days
A SEARCH and rescue operation was launched at Aberavon Beach after a 12-year-old boy went missing for the second time in as many days.
The youngster, who is believed to have special needs, was found in the water at the seafront last Friday.
So when he was reported missing on Sunday there were fears he might have done the same again.
His disappearance triggered an operation involving two Coastguard teams, Port Talbot's inshore lifeboat and police, including the force helicopter.
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Fortunately the child was found safe and well less than an hour after the initial report came in and the operation was stood down.
RNLI station spokesman Mel Cooper said the lifeboat was launched at 12.50pm on Sunday, shortly after returning to shore following a training exercise.
"We were asked to search for a missing 12-year-old boy," said Mr Cooper.
"He had gone missing last week, when the police found him in the water at Aberavon Beach.
"When the shout came in that he had gone missing a second time, the first thought was that perhaps he had gone into the water again.
"Even though there was nothing firm to suggest that, we couldn't afford to take a chance."
The lifeboat searched 100 metres offshore, the local estuary and the River Afan, while Coastguard teams from Port Talbot and Porthcawl searched the shoreline. Police, including the force helicopter, were also involved.
"Fortunately he was okay," said Mr Cooper. "He was found quite quickly, so we were not out all that long.
"We had only just cleaned the boat and put it in the boathouse.
"But this is one of those calls when you don't mind that happening, especially given the boy's age."
A police spokesman said: "At 12.18pm on Sunday we received reports of a missing 12-year-old boy.
"Police officers located him in Western Avenue, Sandfields just after 1pm."