FRIENDS of a teenager who died after diving into a quay on the hottest day of the year have paid tribute to their “hard-working” pal.
Ngapee Merenga, 19, was pulled from Salford Quays, Greater Manchester at around 7.40pm last night after a three-hour search.
Ngapee Merenga, 19, had dreams of becoming a professional footballerCredit: Facebook
He died after diving into the water at a quayside in Salford yesterdayCredit: @BenMillss
Tributes are now pouring in for the young lad.
Star striker Ngapee, who played for Manchester-based East Central Faclons, had gone to the quays with four friends.
One friend Mohammad, 18, said: “We’d been there for about 2 hours. All of us – apart from Ngapee – had been swimming.
“We were just about to leave when he decided to jump in last-minute.
“I just think he really want to go into the water because it was so hot but I don’t think he could swim.
“His head popped back up for about five seconds but then the water just took him down.”
Mohammad said he and another friend Yayha Mazhar, who were still in the water, tried desperately to reach Ngappe but it was too late.
“We were swimming a few metres away and couldn’t save him,” he said.
“He went under the water too fast.”
Mohammad, who played football alongside Ngappe, added: “He was a great friend, a great guy, he was always smiling.
“I couldn’t say a bad word about him. He loved football and was a really talented striker – he scored so many goals.”
A GoFundMe page has been set up by pals to help his grieving family pay for funeral costs.
It reads: “Our dear brother Ngapee Merenga has returned to God.
“Ngapee was a very clean hearted person. Very hardworking and always had the dream to become a professional footballer.
“Sadly on the 18th of July late afternoon we lost our friend, our brother, Ngapee Merenga from the incident that occurred in Salford quays.”
One friend told how he witnessed Ngapee’s tragic passing while paying tribute to his football teammate.
He wrote: “Words can not express how heartbroken I am.
“More than a friend. To see my brother pass away in front of my eyes, a few metres apart is the last thing anyone would want to experience or witness.
“Rest in peace my bro. We will never forget. You will always have a special place in my heart.”
Another friend wrote on Instagram: “Words cannot express how heartbroken I am.
“More than a friend: to see my family, my brother pass away in from on my eyes a few metres apart is the last thing anyone would want to experience or witness.”
Flowers have been left at the spot in tribute to the tragic teenager, as police around the country pleaded with Brits not to cool off in open water during hot weather.
It comes as five other people died in drowning incidents during the hottest weekend of the year as temperatures soared to 31.6C.
‘PEOPLE WERE SCREAMING’
“Everyone else jumped in trying to look for him. People were screaming and someone was shouting ‘my friend’s drowning,” a witness said.
“His friends jumped in.”
Someone was shouting ‘my friend’s drowning’
Another man said four others went into the water to try and help him, Manchester Evening News reports.
Police have launched an investigation.
It comes as five other Brits died in England in drowning incidents over the weekend amid scorching temperatures.
Last night, a man’s body was recovered from water at a disused quarry in Dove Holes, Buxton, Derbyshire just before 11pm.
Earlier, emergency crews discovered a man’s body in the lake in Crookes Valley Park, South Yorks, at 7.30pm.
South Yorkshire Police said an underwater search team recovered the body of the man in his 20s just before midnight.
It came hours after a teenage girl drowned in an Oxfordshire lake.
Police were called to Ducklington Lake, in Witney, at around 2.35pm on Sunday and the girl was then pulled from the water.
Thames Valley Police said she was rushed to hospital, but died later.
A boy who died after entering the River Eden in Rickery Park near Stony Holme, Carlisle on Saturday was identified as 16-year-old Mohammad Abdul Hamid.
Police launched a search after they received a report of concern for the welfare of the boy at around 9pm by North West Ambulance Service.
His body was found at around 11.45am on Sunday.
And in York, the body of a man in his 50s was recovered from the River Ouse, close to the Water End Bridge on Sunday evening.
Emergency services have appealed for Brits to stay out of the water during hot weather.
Paul Hawker, group manager for Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service, said: “When the weather is hot, we know people are tempted to cool down by swimming and jumping into open water.
“However, no matter how warm the weather is, the water remains cold which can cause the body to go into cold water shock, making it difficult for even the strongest swimmer.
“With the hot weather set to continue and lockdown restrictions now lifted, we know people will be out and about enjoying the sunshine, but ask that people stay safe and stay out of the water.”
Emergency services were called to Salford Quays to reports of a man the waterCredit: SWNS
Friends have paid tributeCredit: Facebook
Emergency crews discovered a body in the lake in Crookes Valley Park, South Yorks, at 7.30pm last nightCredit: MEN Media
Cops revealed a teen girl was pulled from Ducklington Lake in Witney, OxfordshireCredit: ITV
A man is his 50s was pulled from the River Ouse in YorkCredit: Alamy