Page last updated at 19:35 GMT, Monday, 23 November 2009

River search for woman is stopped

A search and rescue team on the banks of the Usk in Brecon on Sunday
A rescue team on the banks of the River Usk in Powys on Sunday

Rescue teams have called off their search for a 21-year-old woman who went missing in the River Usk in Powys.

Fading light forced the major search operation to finish for the second time in two days. The situation will be reviewed in the morning.

The search started after a friend called emergency services when she went missing near a river bridge in Brecon on Saturday night.

A man has been helping police establish how the woman fell into the river.

A police helicopter and a mountain rescue team joined Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service in a day-long hunt on a mile-long stretch on Sunday.

Fire brigades and mountain rescue teams, working on foot and in kayaks, have continued their efforts throughout the day on Monday.

The local woman was reported missing at Watergate bridge in Brecon at 1900 GMT on Saturday by a male friend. A police liaison officer has been with her family.

River Usk near where the woman was last seen
The woman was last seen near this spot on the River Usk in Brecon on Saturday evening

The river was too swollen for rescue boats to be used initially and Dyfed-Powys Police's helicopter was brought in for an air search.

Police are trying to establish the exact circumstances of how the woman entered the water but they said on Sunday they wanted to focus on the search.

It is thought she fell after crossing the bridge in an area where there is a 6ft (1.83m) gap in railings.

Insp Mark Davies said they were investigating the full circumstances of why she was in the river "and are concentrating all efforts on trying to find her".

Slippery conditions

Police issued an appeal for people to keep away, including those offering to help, because of slippery conditions on the river bank and worries over water levels.

The search was concentrating on a mile stretch of the Usk from where the woman was last seen.

Local resident Sue Gardiner said: "Looking at the strength of the current and the volume of water it's not surprising something like this has happened.

"It's very sad and having heard about the police officer in Cumbria, it's a warning to us all really about the strength and the danger of water."

On Monday there were a number of flood warnings in force in Wales, on the the River Towy at Abergwili in Carmarthen and along the River Dee at Bangor-on-Dee, the lower Dee valley between Llangollen and Chester and for both defended and undefended areas of Monmouth.

There were also flood watches on over 20 river areas in Wales, including the Usk in Powys.

Firefighters were called out just before 0500 BST to pump water out of two flooded houses at St Nicholas near Goodwick in Pembrokeshire.

The heavy rain and winds also caused transport disruption.

Flooding in the Llanrwst area in Conwy stopped trains between Llandudno Junction and Blaenau Ffestiniog, with passengers facing longer journeys on replacement bus services.

The A4118 at Upper Killay in Swansea between Vennaway Lane and Summerland Park was closed because of a fallen tree.

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