Family

‘We were in disbelief,’ says parents of heatwave drown victim, 14

The parents of a teenager who drowned in a lake during the heatwave said they were in disbelief at their son’s tragedy.

The Royal Life Saving Society said at least 50 people died from June to 10 August this year as the UK faced the hottest summer on record.

14-year-old Lewis Agyei-Sekyireh from Enfield, north London – one of the youngest drowning victims this summer – died after getting into difficulty in North Met Lake in nearby Cheshunt earlier this month.

Lewis’s father, Evans Boaheng, said the family was in disbelief when police said the teenager went missing in the water.

“We weren’t expecting it,” Mr Boaheng told The Independent. “When the police report came we told them it was a lie because we knew our son had gone to play football.

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“We’re very sad; it was very painful. He’s a young talented boy. Everybody loves him. If Lewis sits down to play drums you’ll clap your hands. He was also a rapper and a footballer,” Mr Boaheng added.

Mr Boaheng said he didn’t learn about open water swimming warnings until after the fatal accident, but two weeks before his death Lewis had asked to go swimming at a leisure centre.

Lewis was not a strong swimmer his father said

(Supplied)

“Lewis wasn’t a swimmer to be honest; he doesn’t know how to swim at all,” Mr Boaheng said. He added that Lewis was upset about not being able to go swimming on that occasion but never thought his son would get into such an accident.

Mr Boaheng urged parents to do “all they can” to protect their children and warned people not to undermine the risks of swimming in open water

Lee Heard, director of the RLSS, said there was a “direct correlation” between warm weather and an increase in the number of drownings.

“I think unfortunately this year has been really tragic, as was last year,” Mr Heard told The Independent.

“There’s an inevitability around the warm weather and the number of people that drown. We don’t want people to not go into water to enjoy and learn to swim, but the reason why so many people are drowning is there seems to be a lack of understanding of their ability to swim in open water.”

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