Family pay tribute to 'vibrant' teen David Ejimofor who drowned 'jumping off pier'

Relatives say he died after "jumping off a pier" at Aberavon beach Credit: Family photo

The family of a teenager who drowned at Aberavon beach have described him as a "vibrant and promising young boy" whose future was "cut short".

Relatives say he died after "jumping off a pier" and are calling for changes to be made to improve safety, as police launch an investigation into the circumstances of the incident.

David's family said he was at the beach for a "yearly coming of age ceremony" after finishing GCSE exams.

Floral tributes have been left following David's death

South Wales Police said its officers and a "number of other emergency services" were sent to Aberavon beach after the teenager got into difficulty in the sea on Monday evening.

The family are calling changes to be made at the beach such as the installation of barriers, more signage and warning for people who want to get into the water.

The petition has already been signed by more than 1,500 people.

Thousands of pounds has already been raised for David's family since Wednesday. Credit: Family photo

In a tribute, David's family said: "It is with heavy hearts and immense grief that we announce the sudden death of our beloved David Ejimofor, a son, brother, cousin, nephew, and friend. 

"Our beloved David, a vibrant and promising young boy aged 15, tragically lost his life in a drowning accident at Aberavon beach on 19 June 2023.  He is a well behaved and God-fearing young boy with an unwavering passion for sports and health. 

"He was always striving to be the best version of himself. He has an infectious smile, caring nature, and boundless enthusiasm. He touched the lives of many.  

"This heart-breaking incident has left us devastated.  As described by locals, "he is a ray of sunshine to all of us".

Emergency services were called to the beach at around 7.10pm on Monday 19 June. Credit: Media Wales

They added: "David's dreams of a bright future were cut short, but his memory will forever live on in the hearts of those who knew and loved him. 

"We welcome the police investigation into this unfortunate incident and await a thorough report.

"This is not something we would want anyone else to have to suffer. It is for this reason we are using our dear David’s life as a beacon for change. Thank you for your support, love, and prayers."

A fundraising page for David has raised more than £9,000 since it launched on Wednesday.

Police described it as a "very sad and tragic incident". Credit: Media Wales

It says: “This tragic event has touched the community of St Joseph’s and wider Port Talbot. David was a popular young man amongst his peers with a gentle soul.

"He will be forever missed by all his friends who would like to raise funds in his memory and donate these funds to his family during their heartbreak."

Associated British Ports which owns the North Pier in Aberavon said it will work with the relevant authorities and partners regarding safeguarding at the beach.

The council is urging people to familiarise themselves with signage and advice to promote water safety at the beach.

It said: “Our sympathy and thoughts are with David’s family and friends and all who knew him. We will provide appropriate assistance as required to the relevant authorities to support their inquiries into the incident.”

Meanwhile, Neath Port Talbot Council told ITV News that it will "make sure" that the petitions "receive attention within the multi-agency group that is co-ordinating the response to this very sad incident".

It is also reassuring residents and visitors that safety is of "paramount importance" and "a range of emergency services currently operate at the beach and are dedicated to ensuring the safety of all those who use it".

Neath Port Talbot is reassuring visitors that safety is of paramount importance.

The council is also urging people to familiarise themselves with signage and advice to promote water safety at the beach.

Earlier this week, St. Joseph's Catholic School & Sixth Form Centre said it was "deeply saddened" to hear of David's death.

In the Senedd on Wednesday, minister Jeremy Miles was questioned about what action the Welsh Government was taking to improve water safety.

Mark Allen was 18 years old when he died in 2018 after jumping into a reservoir. The family believes he could have been saved if a throw-line was available near the water.

Mr Miles said the government was "implementing recommendations" on Mark Allen's law.

He said: "My condolences and thoughts are with the family, friends and community affected by this tragedy.

"We are implementing the Petitions Committee recommendations on Mark Allen's law, which is underpinned by the drowning prevention strategy.

"The strategy will enable people to be safer in, on and around water. It promotes and encourages a consistent approach to water safety engagement, education and awareness."

Anyone who saw what happened or has information they think could help police are urged to call 101. Credit: PA Images

Meanwhile South Wales Police said it is continuing to interview witnesses and gather evidence to "establish the circumstances that led to this very sad and tragic incident".

Detective Inspector Carl Price added: "We are working with partners to support those affected and our thoughts are with David’s family and friends.”

Anyone with information is being urged to call police on 101 quoting reference number 2300202601.

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