Heartbroken sister's plea after younger brother Haydn Griffiths drowns in River Mersey
Video report by Zoe Muldoon
The sister of a young man feared drowned in the River Mersey has made an emotional plea to people to be safe in the water.
Megan Griffiths has described the heartbreaking days she and members of the local community spent searching for her younger brother Haydn.
Haydn Griffiths went missing after swimming in the River Mersey at New Brighton on Tuesday, 19 July, the hottest day on record.
Merseyside Police say the 23-year-old was attempting to swim out to the nearby wind turbines with a friend when he disappeared in the water and did not resurface.
Megan said: "The tide turned and they were getting pulled out to sea and were struggling against the tide.
"We searched and searched. Haydn was so strong that I wanted to be strong for him and search. I would have searched forever and never stopped."
A massive search was launched by the Coastguard and RNLI, but was called off at around 5pm the following day.
Police have now confirmed the Coastguard found a man's body close to the Pier Head shortly before 8pm on Sunday 24 July.
Paying tribute to her brother, Megan described Haydn as 'amazing', saying: "He was a big handsome giant, with the kindest heart.
"I am so proud to be his sister and grateful to all of those in the community who came together to help search for him."
Tragically, the body was discovered on World Drowning Prevention Day.
Led by the World Health Organisation, the day calls for people around the world to "do one thing" to prevent drowning.
Drowning is one of the UK's leading causes of accidental death.
Each year more than 400 people drown after tripping, falling or just by underestimating the risks associated with being near water.
Many more people are left with life changing injuries in water related incidents.
Today 50 organisations have come together in the UK's largest ever drowning prevention campaign.
Amongst those supporting the campaign are Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service, who say there have been an unprecedented number of drownings already this summer.
They are urging people to respect the water.
David Wilson from GMFRS said: "We know we're going to get more hot weather and we know people will go in the water but we want them to do it safely.
"Going into areas like Salford Quays is a recipe for disaster and so many people have seen the tragic effects of that."
The warning comes after a 16-year-old boy drowned in the water at Salford Quays last week.
Kalen Waugh had been swimming with friends when he got into difficulty in the water on Saturday 16 July.
A major search operation was launched and the 16-year-old's body was recovered on Sunday, 17 July.
The recent tragedies have been cause for concern for grieving mother Beckie Ramsay.
Her son Dylan Ramsay died whilst swimming in a quarry in Lancashire in 2011.
She has campaigned for increased water safety training to be on the national curriculum, so that all children will be taught how to stay safe.
Beckie spoke to Granada Reports presenters Rob Smith and Victoria Grimes and said that more needs to be done to make sure people know how to be safe around water.
World Drowning Prevention Day and its messages have sadly come too late for Haydn Griffiths.
Merseyside Police say his death is being treated as unexplained and a post mortem examination will take place to establish the cause.
They added: "Haydn's family have been informed and are being supported by officers from Merseyside Police at this sad time.
"The body is yet to be formally identified."
Now his sister Megan can only hope that other young deaths can be prevented:
"Please be careful for the sake of your families. Just think about your family when you thinking of doing something which may seem fun for you because the consequences for others are not fun if things go wrong.
"The stress this has caused for my family is indescribable."
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