The parents of missing St Andrews student Duncan Sim are said to be “realistic” about hopes of him being found alive.
It is just over a month since the 19-year-old chemistry undergraduate disappeared after a social event at the Madras Rugby Club pavilion in the town’s Old Station Road.
Chief Inspector Steven Hamilton of Police Scotland, who is leading the inquiry, said the search would continue “as long as is necessary”.
However, he said both police and the Sim family were now facing the grim possibility that Duncan is dead.
“We’re obviously close to the sea here,” said the chief inspector.
“I know it’s not particularly pleasant to be talking about, but there’s a possibility that Duncan could have ended up in the sea.
“So we’ve had assistance from oceanographers, to consider all possibilities for what’s happened to Duncan.”
Mr Hamilton added: “My commitment to them (the family) is to do everything I possibly can to try to find Duncan safe and well if possible but obviously it is now over one month so both myself and the family are also very realistic about what may have happened to Duncan.”
Duncan, who is from Duns in the Borders and is a keen sportsman, was last seen just after 11pm on Wednesday March 14 leaving Madras Rugby Club.
The alarm was raised after he failed to arrive back at his accommodation at Agnes Blackadder Hall.
Police say he ran off in the direction of Eden Clubhouse on St Andrews Links, where he was spotted on CCTV.
Police refreshed the appeal for anyone with information about Duncan’s disappearance to contact them on 101.