Canal teens' relationship 'secret'
A young couple who died in a canal lock kept their relationship secret from their families because of their different backgrounds, friends of the teenagers have said .
Sara Rylance, 17, and Fayz Uddin, 18, died in hospital after being pulled from the lock, near Brasshouse Road in Smethwick, West Midlands, by emergency services on Wednesday night, West Midlands Police confirmed.
Speaking at the scene of the incident, close friend Yasmin, 17, said: "They were a couple but obviously because of the general circumstances and different backgrounds they kept it quiet."
Describing the couple, she said: "Fayz was just the most amazing guy and Sara was the strongest and most determined girl. I had known Fayz since we were in Year Six at school together and I can't believe he has gone, I am still in shock."
A female friend of Miss Rylance, who asked not to be named, said: "I just keep looking at the edge of the path and thinking, 'What were they doing walking so close to the water? What were they thinking?' I can't believe what has happened."
Police refused to confirm reports that the teenager had been trying to save her boyfriend after he fell in the canal.
On a tribute page set up on social networking website Facebook, one friend posted: "Your death was so sudden. We are so proud of you for trying to save the one you love, it takes great strength and courage. Well done baby girl. We all love and miss you so much. Your a great girl and wont be forgotten any time soon. Love you."
Detectives from West Midlands Police said they were investigating the deaths on behalf of the coroner. Earlier a spokeswoman said they were looking into the circumstances surrounding the incident but that it looked like a tragic accident.
Mr Uddin had completed a one-year course in IT and business at Halesowen College last year. Principal Keith Bates paid tribute to the former student.
"I extend my deepest sympathies to both families after the tragedy," he said, adding that the college would be putting measures in place to help support any students who were affected by the deaths.