Neighbours have told of the frantic search for three-year-old Jack Rowe, who died yesterday morning only hours after he was found lying face down in the family swimming pool.

His family launched a massive search in their home village of Upavon on Wednesday evening after he was believed to have wandered off towards a nearby river. It was the day of his third birthday.

Police and villagers joined in the hunt but, just 20 minutes later, little Jack was found floating in the water of the pool in the garden of the family home.

He was unresponsive and given medical treatment at the scene before being flown to Southampton General Hospital by air ambulance.

But despite the medics best efforts he passed away in the early hours of the following morning.

Neighbours Jack and Maggie Leach told how villagers quickly spread across the area over fears the youngster might have fallen into the river on Wednesday just after 7pm.

They said: "We were sitting outside when a young lady came to the fence asking us to keep a look out for Jack as he had been missing for about half an hour.

"With the river being down there (next to the house), we ran down. After that we went around the house, looking through the fields.

"We were all looking when the police came at about 7.20pm. Then we heard a scream and he had been found in the pool.

"How long he had been in there for I don't know. It was unbelievable.

"How they didn't spot him in the pool. The air ambulance landed in the field opposite their house. The police had been trying to revive him for about half an hour."

The youngster lived at home with his parents, Olivia and Nigel Rowe, who have a daughter Ella and two sons in their 20s.

Other neighbours, who asked not to be named, added: "We heard a scream so everyone went looking for the boy.

"A dozen or so people went down to the river. They also thought he might have wondered in to the field opposite.

"There were four police to begin with but there was about 20 towards the end, with dogs.

"They were getting ready to launch a search. When they found the boy police tried to resuscitate him.

"Three ambulances turned up. He was airlifted to Southampton because apparently Bristol was full."

Ross Appleton, 72, who now sits on the parish council, said: "They were having a look around to try and find him.

"When word of mouth spread and people were asking about it, it grew.

"They are all asking what they could do but I said we need an order of what we are doing.

"The lady from over there shouted 'we found him in the pool'.

"The mum was screaming. The dad wasn't in. He works abroad. 

"I was trying to direct traffic. There were so many cars. There must have been between six and 10 police cars, some unmarked.

"There was a paramedic type car and an ambulance. They came around asking about the landing the ambulance in the field.

"They had to keep the horses to the side.

"I was helping the police down this side of the road.

"It's horrible that a little kid has died. It's tragic."