‘Little gentleman with huge smile’, 13, drowned in lake on hottest day of year

A small community in Northern Ireland have shared their grief after a teenage boy died after getting into difficulty while swimming in a lake on the hottest day of the year.

According to emergency services, they were alerted to the scene near Scarva, County Down and arrived to find the boy's dad frantically trying to pull him from the water.

The victim was 13-year-old Jay Moffett, who has been described as a "little gentleman" with a "huge smile", BelfastLive reports.

A Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service officer who attended the tragic incident on Monday said crews were met with a "traumatic scene."

Gary Magwood, Group Commander at NIFRS, and his colleagues tended to the boy but he died in hospital soon after.

Commander Magwood told RTE's Morning Ireland on Tuesday how crews were met with the distressing scene of a father frantically trying to save his son.

"Upon arrival, crews were met with a traumatic scene, where we had the young man's father in the water trying to retrieve his son, being assisted by a colleague, a friend of the family," he said.

He said his crew were able to get the boy out of the water with ropes. The officer, a father himself, spoke candidly of the pain he witnessed.

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"As a father myself, this has a devastating effect on the crews and the local community and the family, we are just devastated by what has happened yesterday," he said.

The officer said that the boy and some friends went to the lake before Jay got into difficulty and the other friends ran to get help.

Now, Jay's local community has paid tribute to him.

Tullyish Amateur Boxing Club, where Jay was a member, said in a statement: "Tullylish ABC are deeply saddened following the tragic and untimely passing of our much loved club member Jay Moffett.

"All of us at the club pass on our sincerest condolences to Wayne, Caroline, Ollie and Daisy. Rest easy Jay, we will all miss that big smile."

Since the news of his passing, many have paid tribute on social media to the "beautiful boy" with a "huge smile".

One person said: "Heartbroken for you all. Thinking of you, he was such a lovely lad."

Another said: "Beautiful boy from the inside out, anyone who knew Jay would know he always had a smile on his face to anyone he met!

"Please do remember this family in your thoughts and prayers as they come to terms with this tragedy."

DUP Upper Bann MP Carla Lockhart said: "Absolutely devastating news to hear of another family plunged into sorrow after the death of a young teenage boy at the Canal Court area of Scarva village.

"Please remember the family in your prayers as they come to terms with this harrowing tragedy. To the emergency services and anyone else who assisted, thank you."

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