Touching tributes left to Sunderland teenager Liam Hall
Touching tributes have been paid to teenager Liam Hall who died after getting into difficulties off Sunderland seafront.
The 17-year-old was out with three other pals on Tuesday afternoon in the water near Roker Pier.
It is thought the group had been in a dinghy and then entered the water to swim, but ended up getting into difficulty.
Liam, who was from the Southwick area of Sunderland, was rescued by the RNLI as part of a major search operation.
He was taken to Newcastle’s RVI for treatment but Northumbria Police announced on Wednesday that he had sadly died.
The three other teenagers involved are said to be in a stable condition.
Scores of tributes were left on the Echo’s Facebook page to Liam.
Sharon O’Brien wrote: “Terrible news. I’m so sorry for his family and friends xxxx”
Brenda Bird said: “So tragic for his family we were at Roker when this happened we were hoping they would all be found safe and well, the rescue services were still working hard when we left.”
Linda Johnson wrote: “Absolutely tragic. It could have been so much worse, if it hadn’t been for the amazing rescue effort. Thinking of his family. R.I.P. gone too soon.”
And Claire Coxon wrote: “So so sad, rip Liam, thoughts are with his family and friends xx”
Sunderland RNLI’s Ben Mitchell called on beach goers to stay safe when going into the water.
“From the RNLI’s point of view, we had both lifeboats from Sunderland involved in the rescue, volunteer crews and lifeguards from neighbouring beaches as well.
“We are very sad to hear the result in the end that this young man has died.
“We can’t speculate on what happened but we’d encourage people going into the water to go to beaches where there are lifeguards, so where they can see red and yellow flags.”
Those visiting Sunderland seafront spoke of their shock at the tragedy.
Married couple Diane and Mike Coats, of Rickleton in Washington, come to the area for walks a couple of times each month.
“Things like this happen once in a blue moon,” said Diane, 72.
“I was just really surprised by it when I heard the news.”
Meg Macdonald, who is staying in Sunderland for the first time after travelling from her home in Biggar, South Lanarkshire, Scotland, said: “What’s happened is terrible.
“There are so many incidents like this which happen at this time of the year. There were those men last week who died down south in the sea.”
The 67-year-old added: “Maybe people sometimes don’t realise the dangers of going into the water.”
Brian Head saw the drama of the rescue attempt unfold from his nearby home on Tuesday.
“I saw the helicopters out yesterday,” said the 50-year-old, of Roker.
“It’s very sad that the boy’s died.”