Girlfriend of Sunderland sea tragedy teenager Liam Hall speaks of desperate attempt to save him

Liam Hall. Photo issued by Northumbria Police.

Liam Hall. Photo issued by Northumbria Police.

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The girlfriend of Sunderland sea tragedy teenager Liam Hall has spoken of her desperate attempt to save him.

Liam, 17, died despite a major search and rescue operation after he got into difficulty near the mouth of the River Wear, on Tuesday.

Floral tributes left to teenager Liam Hall.

Floral tributes left to teenager Liam Hall.

He was taken to Royal Victoria Infirmary (RVI) in Newcastle with serious injuries after he was eventually pulled from the water about 5.30pm.

Doctors were unable to save him.

Flowers have since been left on the seafront and tributes have flooded into the Echo.

The Southwick teenager and girlfriend Courtney Richardson, 18, had been enjoying a day out on a dinghy, with their two friends Jack Henratty, 17 and Natalie Foster, 21.

They had been in the small dingy near to the Old Pier at Sunderland Yacht Club at 3.20pm when they got into trouble.

Courtney told ITV News: "I will never forget what happened.

"I don't think that we blew the dingy up properly and it started to deflate.

"We started to swim back to shore but Liam just wasn't strong enough.

"Both me and his best friend Jack tried to pull him above the current but it started to pull us down as well and we couldn't get him up.

"His head went under and then came back up again - I thought he would be fine.

"He screamed for help but then his head went under again and never came back up.

"I keep on seeing his head go under - I think about that non stop.

"We got back to shore and screamed for help but people just thought we were messing around.

"It felt like ages for the coast guards to get there.

"He would do anything for anyone and he had a complete heart of gold."

She added: "I will miss everything about Liam.

"He would do anything for anyone and he had a complete heart of gold and he would tell me that he loved me every single day.

"He has such a serious face but he was such a joker, he had a dry sense of humour.

"I would advise other young people near the sea to always be with an adult or someone that can help you and always make sure that you are where people can see you - the sea might look calm but underneath it is so so dangerous."