Hazel Nairn: River search resumes on disappearance anniversary

A river search for a woman swept away in severe flooding in Aberdeenshire is to resume this weekend on the first anniversary of her disappearance.

Hazel Nairn, 71, was last seen at the River Don, near Monymusk, last November while out with her dog.

Relatives think her body could still be caught somewhere along the river.

A specialist underwater team initially searched in October and will return. Hazel's daughter Anneka described it as "a very sad weekend for us all".

She told BBC Scotland News: "We never thought when this awful tragedy happened one year ago that we would be in a position where we are still desperately looking for my mum.

"I don't want people to think of us or our heartache but to think of my mum Hazel and how she is not home yet or at peace but out there, somewhere, all alone.

"We will never ever know what really happened but would ask the public to keep an eye out for any of her belongings as so much is still missing and in this whole year not one further item has been recovered.

"We will be paying the river a visit."

The river continues for 31 miles from Hazel's last known location until it meets the sea.

The search has focussed on areas such as bends where a body might be more likely to be trapped.

The body of Hazel's dog was found in the days after she went missing.

Beneath the Surface is a voluntary underwater search and recovery dive team based in Lancashire.

Team leader Phil Jones said bad weather and flooding had hampered the expected renewed effort in recent weeks.

Experts will this weekend continue searching a previously identified seven-mile stretch of the river, starting from the entry point.

Phil Jones
Phil Jones said the aim was to help families get answers and closure

Mr Jones said: "We will focus on that main section before moving further down river.

"River conditions are always very challenging. It's now a year since Hazel disappeared, so that is a very long time, with a lot of different things that can happen.

"It's going to take us a great deal of time to search. The only real way to do it adequately is by visual inspection by divers being in the water which is quite slow and has to be done methodically and it is quite time consuming.

"We can never give guarantees at all in any missing persons case, especially where water is concerned."

river search
A new search was launched at the weekend

He added: "It's obviously been a tough year for the family, a very difficult year.

"This weekend especially will be very emotional for them.

"We don't take any payment, we do it on our own time and expense.

"Our main goal is to help families get answers and closure."