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Search for Franco-British boy Pierre Barnes called off

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The search for missing British boy Pierre Barnes, missing since Saturday on the French island of Porquerolles, has been called off. Officials said that strong winds forecast for Wednesday would make conditions too dangerous for rescue workers.

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“This evening after searching for two days now, they have unfortunately proved fruitless,” Var Prefect Paul Mourier told the press on Tuesday evening. “We have not found this young boy and we are taking the decision to stop the search.”

Weather forecasters predicted strong winds in the part of southern France where Pierre Barnes went missing, leading Mourier to decide that risks to rescue workers would be too high to continue.

His father Stephen told reporters that now his son has been missing three nights the family believe he is dead.

Investigators believe that he was heading for the Gorges du Loup, a site that his father had visited earlier in the day with two of his siblings. With winds blowing up to 130 kilometres an hour at the time, they believe the disappearance was an accident.

“My wife let him go out for a quarter of an hour with his bike around the house,” his father said. “At the time it was fine. We didn’t know as storm was on its way.”

Pierre’s father is British and his mother is French. The family had just started a holiday on Porquerolles when he went missing.

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