THE FATHER of missing RAF airman Corrie McKeague has praised search teams for going “on their hands and knees” sifting through 80 tons of rubbish each day looking for his son.
Martin McKeague thanked Suffolk police officers for their efforts to find the missing 23-year-old saying “no words” could describe how indebted his family were to them.
The 48-year-old also explained that the search was being treated like an “excavation” so officers had to be delicate with the area in case they contaminate any potential evidence.
Officers have now spent nine days searching for Corrie’s body at the landfill in Milton, Cambridgeshire – where Corrie’s mobile phone was last tracked.
The RAF gunner, originally from Dunfermline, Fife, has not been seen following a night out with friends in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, last September.
Martin made the comments after travelling from his home in Cupar, Fife to the landfill yesterday for the second time with his wife Trisha, 54.
He said: “We had the honour of meeting and shaking the hands of another five members of the police search team, who will be rotating into the existing team of eight men and women who are raking through the rubbish there and looking for my son.
“I’m humbled by their efforts, and the words to describe how indebted we are to these people escape me.
“It was a very emotional day for us and it’s not getting any easier. I can’t believe the incredible progress this team has made from last week to this week.
“These police officers are managing to sift through 80 tons of rubbish per day, sometimes on their hands and knees, to ensure no detail is missed.
“Make no mistake; this is a high risk crime scene with 24-hour security around the site, which means you need a small specially trained team to ensure no evidence is contaminated.
“For this reason you couldn’t simply bring in a large gung-ho group with heavy machinery everywhere.
“This is a forensic search, like an excavation, to be treated delicately and with care.”
Martin also took to the post to praise Suffolk police for discovering an error in weight measurements taken from a bin lorry that left the area where Corrie was last spotted on CCTV.
At the time, Incorrect measurements claimed the bin lorry weighed 11kgs but it was later discovered it was actually 100kg – a difference of 14 stone.
Martin added: “If it weren’t for the incredible efforts of the Suffolk police force and their persistence in going over and over the data, even as other serious lines of enquiry continued, the human error in the calculation of the weight of the bin that likely carried Corrie here may never have been found.
“And to avoid any confusion whatsoever, the Suffolk police have confirmed that none of the information provided by private investigation agency McKenzie Intelligence Services (MIS) – who were employed with publicly crowdfunded money – has led to the search of this landfill site, nor has the information provided by MIS told the police anything they didn’t already know.
“Now, if Trisha and I had at any time felt, even for a moment, that the landfill site should have been searched sooner based on the information that was available at the time, then we would have been the first to say this to them, and shared those sentiments with you. But this was not the case.”
Corrie was last seen in the early hours of the 24 September in Bury St Edmunds.
He was last seen going into a loading bay, known as the “Horseshoe”, which contains waste bins.
Officers have now revealed they are “confident” they will find his body at the landfill.
Last week Martin said that visiting the landfill site was like staring into a “piece of hell.”
The five-figure reward posted by the Corrie’s grandparents in December will remain until the Corrie is found.
Earlier this month Haydn Stephens, an ex police officer, was arrested accused of perverting the course of justice.
Mr Stephens, who worked for Biffa, the firm responsible for picks up in the area Corrie went missing, was later released on bail.