11/02/2018 21:33 GMT

Kayden Fleck River Death: 'He Just Melted Your Heart', Say Distraught Parents

Five-year-old was swept away in a fast-flowing river.

The heartbroken parents of a five-year-boy who died after being swept away in a fast-flowing river in Northern Ireland have said their son “just melted your heart”.

Darrel and Leanne Fleck said their son Kayden was “happy-go-lucky” and “your average wee boy”.

They described Kayden and his twin brother, Jayden, as “the two musketeers”.

A statement released by the Police Service of Northern Ireland on behalf of Mr and Mrs Fleck added: “The family want to thank each of the agencies who were involved in the search and rescue operation yesterday, and say they are grateful for the community support they have received since.”

Kayden was swept away more than four miles down the Braid River in Ballymena, Co Antrim, on Saturday.

A major search and rescue operation was launched and the boy was recovered from the river and airlifted to the hospital, but he was declared dead shortly afterwards.

The boy’s school, Harryville Primary, has asked for everyone to remember Kayden’s family in their prayers.

In a statement on Facebook, the school said it was “a very sad time”.

Kayden fell into the river near Skye Park at around 1pm on Saturday.

He was recovered from the water more than 45 minutes later near Tullaghgarley and immediately airlifted to hospital.

As news of the tragedy unfolded, the boy’s school was inundated with messages of condolence for his family.

Posts on the school’s Facebook wall read: “You are all in my thoughts and prayers at this time of unimaginable loss.”

Another said: “Bless this wee man. You will be deeply missed.”