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Girl died trying to save boyfriend

The family of a teenage girl who drowned in a canal has said she died trying to save her boyfriend.

Sara Rylance, 17, and Fayz Uddin, 18, died in hospital on Wednesday night after being pulled from the water near Brasshouse Road in Smethwick, West Midlands, by emergency services.

Friends said the pair kept their relationship secret because of their different religious backgrounds.

In a short statement released through West Midlands Police, Sara's parents and sister said: "We are very proud of Sara for being so brave in risking her life to save another. She will be sadly missed by family and friends."

Police said Mr Uddin's family did not wish to comment, adding that both families had appealed to the media for privacy.

Police said both families were being supported by family liaison officers, but the investigation into the incident was "coming to a close".

Detective Sergeant Andy Robinson, from Sandwell Police, said: "This is an extremely sad and tragic accident where two young lives have been lost. There are no suspicious circumstances and our thoughts and sympathies remain with both families at this very difficult time."

Bouquets were thrown into the canal and placed at the water's edge, where friends gathered to pay tribute to the young couple. Close friend Yasmin, 17, said: "They were a couple but obviously because of the general circumstances and different backgrounds they kept it quiet."

She added: "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 6 at school together and I can't believe he has gone. I am still in shock."

A female friend of Sara, 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."

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