Page last updated at 15:09 GMT, Thursday, 8 April 2010 16:09 UK

Appeal for witnesses after boy drowns fleeing police

Kyle Bonnes
Kyle Bonnes, who died after being pulled from the River Faughan

The Police Ombudsman's Office has appealed for witnesses to the drowning of a teenager in the River Faughan in Londonderry to come forward.

Kyle Bonnes, 15, from Tullyally, died after being pulled from the river on Wednesday. The incident happened in the Drumahoe area just after 1700 BST.

The boy was running from police when he entered the water.

Officers tried to help him but he was pulled from the river in an unconscious state and died a short time later.

Police said the teenager ran off with another youth when they arrived to investigate reports of a disturbance on the Glenshane Road.

The boy's body was recovered by members of Foyle Search and Rescue.

He was a pupil at Lisneal College in the Waterside area of the city.

Willie Lamrock, who runs the local YMCA club, said Kyle was "highly thought of" by youth workers.

"Kyle would have been in our youth club tonight. He came every Thursday night with a group of his pals," he said.

"A great young lad, but like all young fellas there's always a bit of devilment in them. But Kyle was well thought of and well liked.

"He never gave us any bother in the YMCA."

Mr Lamrock also said he felt for the police officers involved.

"When they set off to try to question the young lad as to what was going on they didn't realise, they didn't know that this was going to be the outcome."

Ombudsman investigation

A statement from the Ombudsman's office said investigators had been at the scene through the night co-ordinating forensic, mapping and photography work.

"We would like to speak to anyone who may have witnessed what happened to come forward," the statement continued.

The Police Ombudsman can be contacted on 0800 032 7880.

The chairman of Derry District Policing Partnership, Joe Miller, said they would "monitor the outcome" of the Ombudsman's investigation.

"I have already spoken to the PSNI area commander in Foyle, Chief Inspector Chris Yates, in relation to the incident and I am aware that the events surrounding this tragic loss of life is the subject of an investigation by the Police Ombudsman's Office," he said.

"I would like to assure Kyle's family that the District Policing Partnership will monitor the outcome of this independent investigation and will be there for the family if they require any assistance or support."

Community worker Catherine Cooke comforted the boy's friends after the tragedy.

"It's just a terrible tragedy and my heart goes out to Kyle's parents and his grandparents. We're heart sorry," she said.

She said the part of the river where the accident happened was quite fast flowing and there had been a lot of rain over the past few days.

"There are times it looks quite shallow, but it can be very deceiving," she said.

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