Tributes have poured in for a teenager who lost his life while swimming in Salford Quays.
It is understood that Ngapee Merenga had been swimming with his friends from his football team on the hottest day of the year so far on Sunday when he disappeared under the water.
The Manchester Evening News reports a number of young men made desperate and heroic attempts to save Ngapee before the emergency services arrived.
Greater Manchester Police said the body of a 19-year-old man was recovered from the water at about 7.40pm.
Today, friends and family gathered at the spot where the tragedy unfolded to pay their respects to Ngapee.
Some lay flowers while others left heart-felt tribute messages in chalk at the water’s edge.
Yahya Mazhar, 18, played football with Ngapee for East Central Falcons FC in Ardwick.
He described his friend as ‘good guy’ and a talented footballer.
Yahya said the team had played a match on Sunday morning before heading to Salford Quays for a swim.
Yahya, from Longsight, said: “We had been here for about an hour and we’d been swimming. We were about to go and Ngapee said he wanted to jump in one last time.
“He jumped in and never came back up.”
Yahya described the incident as ‘devastating’.
He and the team have launched a GoFundMe page to help Ngapee’s family with funeral costs.
“He always just such a good guy and always smiling,” Yahya added.
“If we’d lost a game of football afterwards he’d always find a way to get our heads back up.
“I’ve trained with him for a while and he meant a lot to all of us.”
Ngapee, a striker, was East Central Falcons FC’s top goal scorer last season, scoring 17 goals in 14 matches plus two assists.
Friends say he worked hard at his football and studied sports science at the Nicholls campus of The Manchester College.
It’s understood that Ngapee had moved to Manchester with his family from Namibia around five years ago.
Mike Edwards, manager and coach of East Central Falcons, described Ngapee as ‘a true legend’.
He said: “He always gave his best to the team and he was our top goal scorer.
“You could not have met a nicer person either.
“Words can’t describe the emotions people are going through right now.
“As a coach and manager, they played a game and then everyone had gone out to enjoy the sun.
“The next thing, you’re waking up to this terrible news that Ngapee has died.
“The most important thing now is for everyone to come to terms with what has happened.
“Myself and the team have come to down here today to pay our respects and make sure that he rests in peace.”
The young man’s body was found after a huge search operation involving Greater Manchester Police, the fire service and a police helicopter.
In a statement, released on Sunday, Greater Manchester Police said: “At about 4.40pm today (Sunday 18 July), officers were called over concerns for a man in the water at Salford Quays.
“NWAS and GMFRS also attended but, sadly, the body of a 19-year-old man was recovered from the water at about 7.40pm.
“An investigation is under way and a file passed to the coroner.”