Shukri Yahya Abdi, 12, pictured, died in the River Irwell near Bury last night
A 12-year-old girl who died in a river near Bury yesterday has been named as a Somalian refugee who had only recently moved to the area – as family say they were stunned to learn she was near water because she ‘couldn’t swim.’
Shukri Yahya Abdi was found dead in the River Irwell last night after police were called at 8pm to reports of a child in difficulty.
Her mother Zamzam Ture tearfully paid tribute to her ‘amazing daughter’ today and said she had no idea why she was in the water.
Speaking to Manchester Evening News, the girl’s uncle told of his heartbreak.
Mustaf Omar said: ‘She was a sweet and innocent child, she helped her mum 24/7.
He added: ‘She helped her brothers and sisters all the time. I found out through family.
‘Everything about it is out of character, she can’t swim.
‘Her mum is absolutely devastated. She came to the country as a refugee.
‘She was everything a child should be. We are just in shock. She’s the oldest of five.’
Meanwhile two men aged 25 and 26 also died after being pulled out of the sea near Torbay in Devon.
In nearby Torquay another man was found floating ‘face down’ from the water after a tombstoning stunt jump went wrong. – but he survived with minor injuries.
The incident led to Devon Coastguard area commander Drew Parkinson to reiterate warnings over tombstoning, adding: ‘Coastguards do not give safety advice to ruin fun. Tombstoning ruins lives.’
Shukri is understood to have been with two other girls near Dunster Road, close to Bury town centre, when she somehow ended up in the water.
Ms Ture said her daughter was a ‘quiet girl’ who loved to cook, and would often watch YouTube demonstration videos then ask her mother to buy her the ingredients so she could try our recipes herself.
Sobbing and speaking through a interpreter she said: ‘She was amazing. She was a quiet girl. But she was optimistic.
‘She did everything that was expected of her. Yesterday I wasn’t feeling well so she went down and made breakfast for all of us.
‘That’s what she was like. She was always there for me and her brothers and sisters and it is them who will miss out and who will suffer now.’
Her mother Zamzam Ture, pictured, tearfully paid tribute to her daughter today and described her as a ‘quiet girl’ who was very well behaved
Ms Ture sobbed as she spoke through an interpreter, claiming it was ‘out of character’ for her daughter to be near water as she ‘was not a strong swimmer’
The mother, pictured, and her family have only recently moved to Bury after coming to the UK as refugees from Somalia
Ms Ture added it was ‘baffling’ how her daughter ended up in the water because ‘she wasn’t a strong swimmer’
She said: ‘After class or mosque she would wait at the wall for her mum and she would refuse lifts home.
‘She would come and tell us someone had been smoking a cigarette. So 100 per cent this is totally out of character. We cannot believe it.’
Her uncle Mustaf Omar said the parents were devastated and described her as a ‘sweet and innocent child’.
Speaking today on behalf of Shukri’s parents, Mr Omar said: ‘Shukri’s mother is absolutely distraught and shocked, she doesn’t know what’s going to happen and doesn’t understand.
‘Shukri was a sweet, innocent child who came to this country as a refugee. She was new to the community from Somalia.
A 12-year-old Somalian girl, named locally as Shukri Yahya Abdi died in the River Irwell last night. Today relatives and community members visited the scene of the tragedy
Police recovered Shukri’s body last night after she died while swimming in the river, pictured
Police raced to the scene after receiving reports of a young girl in difficulty at 8pm yesterday. Friends and relatives of Shukri visited the scene, pictured, earlier today
‘She was loving, caring and peaceful – everything a child could be – but that has been taken away now. The whole family are in shock.’
Police said there were no suspicious circumstances over her death.
Residents in Bury spoke of their shock over the tragedy today.
Pensioner Christine Carr, 73, who lives nearby, said: ‘It’s so sad to hear about what happened.
‘I live on the estate nearby and helicopters were flying right over our houses – I was just wondering what it was.’
Another woman, who asked not to be named, said: ‘There’s a waterfall where kids are known to jump off a certain point, the rest is very dangerous. The spot is fairly secluded and a pain to get to without crossing the river. That’s the closest entry spot to where she was found.’
Meanwhile police around the country have warned against swimming in open water in hot weather, highlighting the risks to safety.
Figures indicate that a total of 585 people drowned in the UK including a spate of open water accidents in rivers and reservoirs last summer.
And a child at Oddicombe beach in Torquay was pictured perilously close to being swept away by rough seas today not far from where the two men in their 20s died yesterday.
A witness said: ‘A woman and boy were running up and down the jetty being hit by huge breakers. At one point he fell over and got soaked.
‘The woman just stood there while the tot ran down the jetty. It looked incredibly dangerous in light of recent events. The unpredictable sea could have swept them away so easily.’
Sea swell and windy conditions were also said to be throwing swimmers and kayakers against rocks.
The Coastguard and Devon and Cornwall Police say they were called to multiple incidents on Thursday directly linked to weather conditions.
A spokesman said today: ‘Two men have died following an incident near Torquay yesterday.
‘Police were called by the coastguard at around 2pm with reports that two bodies had been pulled from the water near Babbacombe Beach by the RNLI lifeboat.
A police cordon has been set up in Bury today, pictured, after Shukri Yahya Abdi, 12, died after drowning in the River Irwell
Officers are investigating the circumstances in Bury, pictured, and have warned others not to swim in open water in hot weather
‘Emergency services including ambulance, police and HM Coastguard attended the scene where the men were brought to shore and taken to Torbay Hospital.
‘The local men, aged 25 and 26, were pronounced deceased. Their next-of-kin have been informed.
‘Police inquires remain ongoing at this time. Anyone with information is asked to contact police on 101 quoting log 552 of Thursday 27 June.’
The detective presiding over the case in Bury, Detective Inspector Andrew Naismith said: ‘With the warmer weather, it’s tempting to go into the water to cool off, but I’d like to remind everyone of the dangers of playing near or swimming in rivers, lakes and reservoirs and would strongly urge against this.’
High pressure across the south-west means there are severe wind warnings in place.
In nearby Paignton, two kayakers were lifted from the sea yesterday.
Devon and Cornwall police warned of strong easterly winds across the two counties and advised people to take extra care as they appeal for witnesses to come forward.
Temperatures yesterday hit 27C in Exeter, Devon, and Bude, Cornwall.
Two men in their twenties died after being pulled from the sea Torbay, Devon. Police are pictured at the scene yesterday
Police have since warned against the dangers of swimming during hot weather following the double tragedy
‘The Met Office are reporting strong easterly winds across Devon and Cornwall and moderate to rough sea conditions, particularly on the south coast.
‘Anyone entering the sea in this warm weather is advised to be aware of the conditions and take extra care.’
A coastguard spokesman added: ‘HM Coastguard received a call from a member of the public just after 1.10pm on June 27 reporting two people in difficulty in the water near Babbacombe.
‘Torbay and Teignmouth coastguard rescue teams, Teignmouth RNLI lifeboat, the Newquay coastguard helicopter, Devon and Cornwall Police, South West Ambulance Service and two helimed were sent to the scene.
‘The two people were recovered to the lifeboat before being passed into the care of the ambulance service.
‘A search is currently taking place in the area as a precautionary measure to make sure there are no other people in the water in distress.’
Public Health England has a Level 2 heat health risk in place, which means hospital patients, children and the elderly in the south west, west midlands and south east are between 60 and 80 per cent likely to be at serious risk of suffering from the heat.
During a previous heatwave in August 2003, a 10-day heatwave resulted in 2,000 deaths with forecasters warning the most vulnerable could see their lives at risk.
The scorching conditions starting today will also come with a price of high pollen and UV levels as well as risks of further bug infestations.