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Rescue teams searching for teenagers missing near St Anne’s Pier find two bodies

Muhammad Azhar and Ali Athar Shabbir

Police have confirmed rescue teams searching for two missing teenage brothers have recovered two bodies.

HM Coastguard received a 999 call from a member of the public, just before 6:40pm yesterday evening (15th August) saying that three people were in difficulty in the water near to St Anne’s Pier, Lancashire.

A large search and rescue operation was mounted for brothers Muhammad Azhar Shabbir, 18, and Ali Athar Shabbir, 16, from Dewsbury.

A 15-year-old boy, Muhammed and Ali’s cousin, managed to swim to the shore. He remains in hospital.

A Coastguard spokesman said: “Coastguard rescue teams from Lytham and Fleetwood, the coastguard search and rescue helicopter from Caernarfon, RNLI lifeboats from Lytham St Annes and Blackpool, Southport independent lifeboat, Lancashire Police and North West Ambulance Service were all sent.

“The search was suspended briefly in the early hours and continued at first light. The coastguard helicopter is no longer on scene and a police helicopter has joined the search.”

A Lancashire Police spokesman said: “Our HM Coastguard and RNLI colleagues searching for missing brothers Muhammad Azhar Shabbir, 18, and Ali Athar Shabbir, 16, from Dewsbury have sadly found two bodies this afternoon.

“The discovery was made at just after 3:15pm this afternoon (Sunday, August 16th) around a mile away from St Annes Pier, where they sadly got into difficulty in the water yesterday evening (Saturday, August 15th).

“Whilst they have yet to be formally identified, they are believed to be Muhammad and Ali.

“Their family have been notified and are continuing to be supported by a specially trained officer.

“Our thoughts and condolences remain with them and their friends at this incredibly distressing time.

“Thanks again to our colleagues at HM Coastguard, the RNLI and the National Police Air Service (NPAS) for helping the search to find Muhammad and Ali, as well as everyone who sent kind words and offered to help the search.”

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