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Family of lake death boy, 13, left heart-broken

Ryan Evans went missing on Monday after getting into difficulties at Westport Lake in Staffordshire during hot weather

The family of a 13-year-old boy who was recovered from a lake after a three-day search have been left “heart-broken” by his death.

Schoolboy Ryan Evans disappeared after getting into difficulties at Westport Lake, Stoke-on-Trent, on Monday.

The alarm was raised at about 5pm, after a witness spotted three boys “in distress”.

The other two boys, aged 12 and 13, managed to get to safety, but Ryan, who was a pupil at nearby Haywood Academy, was declared missing, and a full-scale search was launched.

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Members of the West Midlands Ambulance Service’s HART (Hazardous Area Response Team) gearing up with dry-suits, to help with a joint agency emergency services’ search for the missing boy. He was later recovered on Wednesday evening. (Richard Vernalls/PA)

Following a painstaking joint emergency services effort involving police divers, sonar and sniffer dogs, the operation concluded on Wednesday evening when the boy’s body was recovered from the water.

In a statement, released through Staffordshire Police, his family said: “Ryan was our world and was very much loved.

“We are all heart-broken and Ryan will be greatly missed.

“We’d like to thank everyone for their efforts in helping to find Ryan; the diving teams, Staffordshire Police and anyone else who was involved in the search.

“We are so grateful to everyone.

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Police divers, and specialist rescue teams from the emergency services, combed Westport Lake in Stoke-on-Trent for 48 hours, in hot weather and difficult underwater conditions. (Richard Vernalls/PA)

“Thank you to all of Ryan’s friends, the staff and pupils from Haywood Academy and members of the public who have been in touch with the family.

“Your messages and condolences have given us great comfort at this very difficult time.

“We are also overwhelmed by the kind donations and offers of help from everyone.”

The family also addressed the risks of playing and swimming in open water, warning people: “Don’t do it.”

Their statement said: “We just cannot emphasis enough the dangers of swimming in open water, especially where young children are concerned.

“Our message is simple, please don’t do it.”

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