14/08/2014 12:52 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 06:12 BST

Dad Watched Helplessly As His Son Drowned During Holiday Swim

Dad watched helpless as his son drowned during holiday swim

A father has spoken of his grief after seeing his teenage son drown just 30 feet from the shore during a family holiday to France.

Kieran Knight disappeared off the coast of Messanges in Aquitaine last week, just moments after his father Kevin suggested that they return to the beach.

The death of the 16-year-old, who was a Sunday school leader and wanted to become a teacher, has prompted an outpouring of condolences from friends at his school and church.

Mr Knight has warned against the dangers of swimming in the sea, in a bid to prevent other families from suffering the same tragedy.

Kieran and his father were swimming in the Atlantic Ocean at a notoriously dangerous spot last Wednesday when the teenager was dragged away by a strong undercurrent.

A rescue operation was launched, but the boy could not be saved, and his body was not recovered until three days later.

Mr Knight, 48, hopes to use the horrific accident to raise awareness of the danger posed by the sea.

He said: "We were no more than chest deep and no more than 10 metres away from the shore line when I felt we should come out of the sea. I moved forward and looked back and Kieran was gone.

"He was literally two metres away from where I was standing, but the undertow was totally different.

"Kieran was not a strong swimmer - he was an adequate swimmer, but we were not in deep. We both had our feet on the ground. I would never go that far into the sea.

"People need to be aware that the danger can be right there at the water's edge. You could easily think it was safe."

The boy's mother Dawn and sister Tara were both on the beach at the time of the tragedy. He is also survived by his brother Aidan.

The family from Newhall in Derbyshire had been holidaying in south-west France to celebrate Kieran finishing his GCSEs.

He was set to start at sixth-form college in September, and was planning to become a primary school teacher after leading the Sunday school at Emmanuel Church in Swadlincote, where he was a regular worshipper.