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Last Updated: Tuesday, 28 November 2006, 18:47 GMT
Families speak about sea search
Kyle Moore
Kyle had not been wearing a life-jacket
The father of a boy rescued after the boat he took with a friend capsized at night off the Dorset coast has spoken of how he thought his son was in bed.

Richard Webb, 14, was plucked from the sea by an RNLI lifeboat in Portland Harbour early on Sunday, after sneaking out with his best friend Kyle Moore.

Kyle, also 14, is still missing and a search operation has been scaled down.

On Monday, Kyle's family made an emotional plea for him to come home, saying, he would not be "in trouble".

Jeffery Webb, Richard's father, described his mixed emotions of relief and sorrow.

In shock

"We feel relieved that we have got him home," he said.

"I'm just so sorry for Sue (Kyle's mother). I just hope Kyle is hiding somewhere.

"They are best mates. Richard is still in shock."

Kyle and Richard took a rowing boat from a boatyard at about 0200 GMT on Sunday.

Kyle was not wearing a lifejacket and coastguard teams, who have searched 40-sq miles of sea and land between Portland Harbour and Ringstead, described the sea conditions at the time as "treacherous".

Jeffrey Webb
Mr Webb thought his son, Richard, was asleep in bed

Mr Webb, 52, an electrician at HMP The Verne, Portland, said: "I thought he was at home in bed. He snuck out of the house.

"They just went out, just for fun. They were just having a prank. They just wanted to take it for a little row round and put it back. That was it."

He described how the boat was "swamped" in the rough sea and the boys, who are neighbours in Portland, were talking to each other and trying to stay together.

Kyle's family and rescuers are clinging to the hope he may have got to shore and be too embarrassed to come forward.

In a statement, the family said: "Kyle is a well-liked boy and well known by everyone."

'Could not see'

They added: "He is not in trouble, we just want to know that he is safe and well and for him to come home.

"We are devastated and are asking if anyone has any information at all to please, please contact the police or coastguard."

Mr Webb said Richard was still "shook up" and would be off school for a while.

"It wasn't long after they got separated that Richard got picked up," he added.

"It was that dark I don't think they could really see.

"Richard is a good swimmer. He might be a stronger swimmer than Kyle."

Supt Darren Curtis, of Dorset Police, said sonar equipment was being used in a widened land search.

Pupils at Royal Manor Arts College, in Portland, where both boys were in Year 10, were being offered counselling.

The search operation around Portland

Search for boat boy scaled down
27 Nov 06 |  Dorset
Missing boy search scaled down
26 Nov 06 |  Dorset

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