The family of a teenager who died after getting into difficulty in a Stoke-on-Trent lake have warned others about the dangers of swimming in open water.
Ryan Evans, 13, was swimming with two friends in Westport Lake on Monday afternoon, when he began to struggle. His body was found on Wednesday following extensive searches involving frogmen and shore-line teams.
In a statement released through Staffordshire Police, the family said: “Ryan was our world and was very much loved. We are all heart-broken and Ryan will be greatly missed.
“We’d like to thank everyone for their efforts in helping to find Ryan; the diving teams, Staffordshire Police and anyone else who was involved in the search. We are so grateful to everyone.
According to the Royal Life Saving Society UK, 85% of accidental drownings occur at open water sites. The charity advises on always looking for warning and guidance signs, to swim parallel with the shore, not away from it, and never to enter fast flowing water.
“Thank you to all of Ryan’s friends, the staff and pupils from Haywood Academy and members of the public who have been in touch with the family. Your messages and condolences have given us great comfort at this very difficult time. We are also overwhelmed by the kind donations and offers of help from everyone.
“We just cannot emphasis enough the dangers of swimming in open water, especially where young children are concerned.
“Our message is simple, please don’t do it.”
Group manager Brian Moss, of Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service, had urged people not to give into the “temptation” to go into rivers and open water during the hot days.
The lake sits above the old Brownhills Colliery and was formed in 1884, when the workings hit the water table, flooding the tunnels and ground above.