A BABY boy believed to have been thrown into the River Irwell has died as  the community comes to terms with the shocking incident. 

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A murder investigation is underway with a 22-year-old man in custody on suspicion of murder.

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The tragedy unfolded just before 4.30pm on Wednesday at the River Irwell near Blackburn Street in Radcliffe.

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Emergency services rushed to the scene and the police helicopter was scrambled.

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The baby who was not yet 12-months old was rescued and taken to hospital.This Is Lancashire:

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He died a short time later despite the best efforts of paramedics and the doctors.

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Detectives are urging any witnesses to get in touch “as a matter of urgency”.

Detective Superintendent Jamie Daniels said: “This is an incredibly tragic incident that has led to an innocent baby boy losing his life and we are doing everything we can to support his family at this unimaginably devastating time.

“I know his loss will be felt by the entire community and our thoughts are very much with his loved ones this evening.

“A murder investigation is under way and we are working hard to piece together the circumstances that led to the baby boy ending up in the water.

“Whilst we have a man in custody, our investigation is ongoing and I’d urge any witnesses or anyone with any information to get in touch as soon as possible so that we can find out what happened to him.”

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Blackburn Street was closed at the junctions with Stand Lane and Radcliffe New Road whilst enquiries are carried out at the scene by specialist officers.

A spokeswoman for Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service said: "We were called at 4.28pm to a rescue of a person in water in Pilkington Way, Radcliffe.

"Fire engines from Whitefield, Farnworth and Eccles attended the incident along with a water incident unit from Eccles.

"Crews rescued one casualty who was then handed over to NWAS (North West Ambulance Service)."

Reports from witnesses suggest the incident may be domestic-related.

Local residents spoke of their shock at hearing what had happened.

Cllr Sean Hornby who runs The Queens in Bradley Fold, Radcliffe, said: "People who have come into the pub this evening are very saddened, shocked and dismayed at the tragic death of this child.

"We don't know the circumstances surrounding the death and I hope anyone who saw or knows anything will to contact the police. An innocent child has died tonight."

Anyone with information should call police on 0161 856 8797 or 101 quoting incident number 1930 of 11/09/2019, or the independent charity Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.