Police find body of 11-year-old Unanderra boy Ryan Teasdale after desperate search

Police have found the body of a boy, believed to be Ryan Teasdale, who disappeared in floodwaters near Wollongong on Thursday afternoon. 

Just before noon, police confirmed they had located the body about 11.15am. 

Ryan Teasdale.

Ryan Teasdale.

"It's with great sadness that I can tell you that we have located the body of the young boy in the creek bed at the end of a stormwater drain," Superintendent Zoran Dzevlan told reporters.

Read more: Hearts break for Ryan’s family after Unanderra tragedy

Ryan, 11, had been missing since 4.30pm on Thursday when he was swept away in floodwaters in Unanderra. 

He had been bodyboarding down a muddy slope in Riley Park with his brother and a group of other children. 

Superintendent Dzevlan said the drain was about 500 metres from the park and ​Ryan's bodyboard was not located in the creek bed.

About 4.30pm on Thursday, Ryan's 13-year-old brother went home to look for Ryan when he could not find the younger boy in the park.

Read more: Looking for Ryan the saddest task for searchers

Family members searched the park for two hours before contacting police at 6.30pm.

A search team of more than 100 looked for Ryan, including police, specialist paramedics, SES volunteers and family and friends.

Emergency services searched through the night for any sign of the boy, who was last seen wearing blue shorts and no shirt, or his blue bodyboard.

Search crews lifted the covers off drains across the road from the park, where rushing water could be heard.

Crews search drains next to Unanderra pool. Photo: Lisa Wachsmuth

Crews search drains next to Unanderra pool. Photo: Lisa Wachsmuth

The search was later widened to include drains around Unanderra swimming pool, about 800 metres away.

On Friday, Wollongong City Council brought in a contractor with a camera to search parts of the drainage system that are not easily accessible.

The park is a popular spot for children during heavy rainfall. One woman took to social media and said she saw some children sliding down the hill.

Crews search drains next to Unanderra pool. Photo: Lisa Wachsmuth

Crews search drains next to Unanderra pool. Photo: Lisa Wachsmuth

"We saw them, about 20 kids with their boogie boards, it's something kids do there all the time. So devastating," she wrote.

One resident told the Illawarra Mercury: "They bring their bodyboards and race down the hill."

The Illawarra received huge amounts of rain on Thursday, with more than 200mm at Macquarie Pass, 188mm at Upper Calderwood and 134mm at Dapto. Cringila, near Unanderra, had 90mm over the same period.

Emergency services personnel search drains at the park. Photo: Sylvia Liber

Emergency services personnel search drains at the park. Photo: Sylvia Liber

The rain caused widespread flooding in the region, inundating major roads including the Princes Highway, which was closed in both directions, and flooding schools and buildings.

Inquiries into the death and formal identification procedures will take place over the coming days and a report will be prepared for the coroner.

Police thanked the volunteers and emergency services personnel who assisted with the search.

With the Sydney Morning Herald