UK & World News

  • 30 August 2014, 4:15

Missing Ashya: Fears Feeding Tube Has Run Out

The condition of a missing five-year-old boy who was taken from hospital by his parents may soon become life-threatening following reports his feeding system is likely to have run out.

Hampshire Constabulary say concern for Ashya King, who has a brain tumour, is growing "with each hour that passes."

Assistant Chief Constable Chris Shead said: "We have been told by medical experts that the battery life on the machine that administers his food is now likely to have expired.

"We don't know whether the King family have any spares, the knowledge, or any way of recharging the battery. 

He warned that without properly administered food, Ashya's condition will "deteriorate very quickly" and ultimately put his life at risk.

Ashya, who was operated on seven days ago, was taken from Southampton General Hospital around 2pm on Thursday. 

Interpol has issued a global Yellow Notice missing persons alert for the boy who police say was taken to France. 

The notice was issued at the request of UK authorities and has been circulated to all of Interpol's 190 member countries.

CCTV images captured the boy being wheeled from the hospital by his father Brett King.

Mr King, 51, and his wife Naghemeh King, 45, boarded a cross-Channel ferry from Portsmouth to Cherbourg at 4pm with Ashya and six siblings. They arrived in France at roughly 8pm local time.

The sick child is still likely to be in a wheelchair or buggy, he cannot communicate verbally and is immobile, a police spokesman said.

The family, believed to be Jehovah's Witnesses, are travelling in a grey Hyundai I800 Style CRDI, registration KP60 HWK.

Hampshire Police are working with officers in France to activate their emergency child rescue alert procedures to locate the family.

A statement issued by France's interior ministry spokesman, Pierre-Henry Brandet, said French authorities have "lots of leads."

Although Mr Shead said that, despite a good public response to widespread media coverage, police cannot be certain whether the family were still in France.

He also said he was unable to confirm whether the family had booked a return ferry ticket to the UK.

Guy Canonici, the president of the Jehovah's Witnesses in France, has told Sky News he has put over 1,000 Kingdom Halls (places of worship) on alert for the missing boy.

He said so far no one had come forward with any information.

TV channels and newspaper websites in France have also urged motorists to look out for the right-hand drive English car carrying Ashya.

A Southampton hospital spokesman has said Ashya was a long term patient who was permitted to leave the ward under the supervision of his parents as part of his ongoing rehabilitation.

Police said a six-and-a-half-hour gap between Ashya being taken from hospital and police being called would be looked at "further down the line".

In a video posted on YouTube last month, Naveed King said his little brother Ashya had been diagnosed with a brain tumour and was undergoing emergency surgery.

Speaking into the camera in a message directly to Ashya, he said: "I haven't slept. I've been awake all night worrying.

"We love you so much. We're all here for you. Everyone is praying for you. We just want to see your smile again.

"No kid at the age of five deserves to have a brain tumour.

Naveed, whose Instagram profile says he is 20, describes himself as a Jehovah's Witness on the social networking site.

Jehovah's Witnesses refuse blood transfusions on religious grounds but are open to other medical procedures.

Ashya's paternal grandmother, Patricia King, said his parents were "wonderful" and had been left beside themselves at their child's plight.

Speaking from her home in Southsea, she said of her son: "He's the most caring and wonderful father you could ever have. The kids love him."

She said she last spoke to her son "quite a while ago", adding: "He wouldn't have told me anything because he wouldn't want me to know anything in case I got involved in it all."

She said she did not know whether Ashya's illness was terminal, saying: "I knew he was seriously ill, we all knew that."

Anyone with information about Ashya's whereabouts should contact Hampshire Constabulary on 101, quoting Operation Aquilion.

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