Cardiff river death: Aryan Ghoniya's family pay tribute to boy

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Aryan GhoniyaImage source, Family photo
Image caption,
Aryan Ghoniya's family said he was brilliant at maths and an all-rounder at school

A family have paid tribute to their "little professor" who was found dead in a river in Cardiff.

The body of 13-year-old Aryan Ghoniya was found in the River Taff at about 17:45 BST on Tuesday.

His family said they were devastated by the tragic loss and there would "never be a day when we will not miss him".

They added: "He was very loving with a warm personality and loved by all who knew him, and he will remain in our hearts forever."

Aryan's family said he was brilliant at maths and an all-rounder at school and a "caring brother to Naviya".

They said they were "devastated by the tragic loss", adding that they were touched by the support from the community, Danescourt Primary School, Radyr Comprehensive School, the emergency services and staff at University Hospital of Wales.

"We strongly urge all parents to explain to their children the danger of playing in rivers. We do not wish any parents to go through the tragedy we are going through," they added.

Head teacher of Radyr Comprehensive School, Andrew Williams, said: "Aryan will be remembered as an outstanding, hardworking and conscientious student with a real warmth of personality, he was a credit to his family and the school community and an absolute pleasure to be around.

"Our heartfelt sympathy is with Aryan's family."

Image caption,
South Wales Fire and Rescue Service joined the search in the River Taff in Cardiff

Emergency services were called to the river on Tuesday afternoon, at about 16:45 after reports of children in the water and a boy missing, near Forest Farm Road in Whitchurch.

Aryan's body was found following an extensive search by the police, fire service, ambulance, Coastguard and the police helicopter.

Balloons were released along the river on Wednesday lunchtime, close to the spot where Aryan was found, as a tribute to the schoolboy.

South Wales Police said police divers were still searching the River Taff in the area near Melingriffith Drive on Wednesday evening.

Image caption,
Balloons were released into the river as a tribute to Aryan

Det Insp Abi Biddle said: "Despite the efforts of the emergency services, he was unable to be resuscitated.

"The coroner has been informed and an investigation into the circumstances of the incident is ongoing."

A Welsh Ambulance Service spokesman confirmed three emergency ambulances, two duty operational managers and an advanced paramedic were sent to the scene.

Cardiff North MP Anna McMorrin said: "Such devastating and heartbreaking news. My thoughts are with the little boy's family and friends. Thank you to the emergency services for all your efforts."

Cardiff council described the incident as "tragic" and said it was helping authorities with their inquiries.

Councillor Kate Carr said on Twitter on behalf of Whitchurch and Tongwynlais councillors: "Our hearts go out to the family and friends of the 13-year-old boy who has died."

Image caption,
Emergency services near the scene of the incident

It is the second river death in south Wales in less than a month, after the body of another 13-year-old, Kane Edwards of Morriston, was found in the River Tawe, near Swansea Enterprise Park, on 24 May.

Welsh Water issued a safety warning last month following a rise in accidental drownings in Wales.

There were 26 deaths in Wales from accidental drowning in 2021 across inland and coastal locations, up from 25 in 2020, latest figures show. They were among 49 total water-related fatalities in the Wales in 2021.

It led to the formation of Water Safety Wales to coordinate advice for those visiting and enjoying waterways and coastlines.

Image caption,
Police were restricting access to the area on Wednesday morning

Water Safety Wales chairman Chris Cousens said at the time of the campaign launch in May: "One death is too many and the impact of losing someone to a death in the water cannot be underestimated.

"We urge the public to understand the dangers, to learn the importance of knowing how to float to live, and to call 999 if others are in trouble and if there is a water-related emergency."

The Canal and River Trust is not responsible for this stretch of river, but its campaigns manager Claire Gauci said: "It's difficult because everyone's finishing school, it's hot and sunny, they want to go and have a good time with their friends.

"We would really advise you to talk with your teenager, your primary schooler or whatever age your children are - there's no earliest time to start talking to them, even pre-schoolers can get this message, just tell them to stay away from the edge, just to not get in, there are other ways to cool down and hopefully that message out to people this summer."

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