Family's grief at loss of Dylan, 4
THE family of a four-year-old boy feared drowned after falling into the sea have described him as a "bubbly, lovely" child.
The search for Dylan Cecil was abandoned at 4.30pm yesterday, just under 24 hours after the youngster vanished in the water after falling from a jetty at Burnham-on-Sea.
Dylan and his family, from Kettering inNorthamptonshire, were in the area to visit his grandparents, David and Jackie McCollum, who live locally.
Mrs McCollum said: "Rachel, our daughter, and Darren came up Friday with the kids. They were going back today and we were going to have the kids until Friday.
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"We always had them for a week and would spoil them, and Dylan always called us 'seaside nanny and grandad'.
"He loved coming up to see us, he loved the seaside.
"He was a bubbly, bubbly, lovely kid. He was our only grandson. We've got five granddaughters, but he was our only grandson."
Mr McCollum said: "We couldn't have wished for a grandson any better.
"I just want to give thanks to everybody who has helped in the search mission and tried to get Dylan back for us. I can't say thank you enough, really.
"We're all just devastated."
Four coastguard rescue teams, four lifeboats, three helicopters and two hovercraft joined a search, which was launched after a member of the public witnessed Dylan's parents' attempts to rescue their son shortly after 6pm on Sunday.
Dylan was playing on the beach with his parents and two sisters, aged one and three, when he fell in.
He is understood to have gone to the end of a jetty with his parents, as he had wanted to get a closer look at the sea.
His parents jumped in to try to save him but are understood to have been unable to see him in the murky, fast-flowing water.
Paramedics treated them for shock and water ingestion after they were pulled from the water by passers-by.
The search for Dylan involved more than 50 people from the coastguard, RNLI, police and Burnham Area Rescue Boat and an RAF air sea rescue team.
It is understood that Dylan's family remained on the beach throughout the search, which was halted after dark on Sunday but resumed at first light yesterday.
By this time coastguards admitted it had now become an attempt to recovery Dylan's body, as police divers joined the search.
Superintendent Keith McCorbrey said: "As you can imagine this has been an extremely difficult time for the family who tried in vain to try and save their son.
"They have been devastated by what has happened, traumatised by the whole incident."
Severn Sector Coastguard manager Tristam Newey said: "The conditions on the jetty are that it would have been impossible to see the edge and that may have led to this accident occurring.
"Certainly, at the time, the water on either side of the jetty was quite deep and, combined with the fast current, once you've fallen into the water it is very difficult to swim back to shore."
A pile of floral tributes yesterday marked the spot on the town's seafront nearest to where Dylan disappeared.
Sedgemoor District Council's Joe Leach, who represents Highbridge and Burnham Marine ward, said: "The community here is completely stunned." He added that the incident was a reminder of the dangerous conditions in the area.
"Burnham-on-Sea has always been known for its treacherous waters," he said.