A WARNING has been issued to swimmers after the body of a young man was recovered from the River Tees two days after going missing.
David Zikhali disappeared after getting into difficulty while swimming at around 7.40pm on Monday near the Infinity Bridge in Stockton.
A two day search using specialist police divers resulted in the recovery of the 20-year-old’s body this afternoon (Wednesday, July 23).
Today, flowers were placed at the Watersports Centre while friends paid tribute to the friendly and fun loving Zimbabwean student.
“He was a good guy,” said his friend Innocent Mussha (CORR) when visited the spot where David went missing. “He was always happy and was always having fun – I can’t believe that he has gone.”
Tony Aziz (CORR) added: “He will be a great loss. I can’t believe that no one was able to rescue him when he was shouting for help – it is such a tragedy. Everyone who knows him will be devastated by his death. I just needed to come and see where he went missing.”
And members of the emergency services have reminded people of the dangers of swimming in rivers and lakes.
Chief Inspector Sharon Cooney, of Cleveland Police said: “We had specialist divers using sonar equipment and RNLI volunteers to try and locate David’s body and after an extensive search over two days, sadly we have now recovered his body.
“It doesn’t matter how strong a swimmer you are it is still incredibly dangerous to swim in rivers and lakes and this tragedy highlights the dangers.”
His death comes almost a year to the day since 15-year-old Tonibeth Purvis and Chloe Fowler, 14, died while swimming in the River Wear in the Fatfield area of Washington.
Tonibeth, from nearby Barmston, jumped into the river when she saw Chloe, from Shiney Row, in difficulty.
But the water was too strong and, despite the efforts of would-be rescuers, both girls were swept away.
Ian McHugh, group manager for Cleveland Fire Brigade, reminded people of the dangers of swimming in open water.
He said: “People might think that because it is a hot sunny day that the water is warm but when you get away from the edge the temperature drops and in many cases, like the River Tees, there is a strong undercurrent even when the top of the water looks calm.
“Our advice would be to stay out of open water regardless of how warm and calm it may appear.”