Northern Ireland

US couple praise PSNI for finding son during Titanic Belfast visit

Titanic Belfast
Image caption The couple said their son went missing during a visit to Titanic Belfast

A US couple has praised the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) for finding their seven-year-old son after he went missing during a visit to Titanic Belfast.

Tim and Sarah Southwell from Hamilton, Montana, told the Belfast Telegraph what happened in a letter.

They said said they spoke to PSNI Con Jim Millar within 15 minutes of last seeing their son.

Mr Millar and fellow officers found the boy "a mile away from the museum".

The US couple said their son had "slipped away among the crowd at the Titanic museum" during a family visit earlier this week, as part of a three-day trip.

They said they contacted Con Millar over his lunch break at the Dock Cafe and explained what had happened.

Image caption PSNI Assistant Chief Constable Stephen Martin tweeted his delight at the young boy being found

"Without giving it a second thought Con Millar was up and engaged in priority one - finding our boy," they added.

"Con Millar displayed an air of calmness, professionalism and downright excellence as he went about engaging his network of fellow officers to implement a plan for locating our son.

"I was impressed with his compassion and inventive thought in implementing a plan of action."

The couple said that when their son was discovered 45 minutes later by the police officers he was "scared and shaken, but in good health".

They added: "We are forever grateful for their service and will look forward to another visit to this wonderful city in the years to come."

The PSNI's Ch Insp David Moore said the service was "grateful for the kind comments from the family".

"The neighbourhood police officers involved in the search acted quickly and professionally and were delighted to be able to reunite the family," he added.