Boy, 14, who drowned in River Thames heatwave tragedy ‘unable to swim and hated water’

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The father of a 14 year-old-boy who drowned in the River Thames during the heatwave, says his son was unable to swim and despised the water.

Brian Sasu was spending time with friends at Tagg’s Island in Hampton, South West London, on Monday when afternoon temperatures rose to 37C

The teenager allegedly went into the water to cool down, but experienced difficulty and went missing in the Thames.

Police began searching for him using specially trained officers and equipment, and his body was found late on Tuesday afternoon.

Brian’s distraught father George Sasu spoke to the MailOnline and said: “Brian could not swim, he hated being in the water. He only liked playing football and never showed any interest in any kind of water sports.

“We are all devastated, this is like a nightmare. At the moment, we are waiting to hear more details from the police. This is a very difficult time for us.”

Mr Sasu said he last spoke to his son at 2:30pm on Monday, but Brian did not mention going swimming in the Thames.

He said he thinks this is because Brian would have known if he’d mentioned swimming, and his father would have told him not to go.

Brian’s mother, Leticia, 50, sobbed: “I haven’t been able to sleep or eat since this incident.

My son just had some basic swimming lessons when he was at primary school but never enjoyed them and never learnt to swim properly. I’m not able to think straight and this whole thing has left me, and the family crushed.”

George and Leticia want to warn others of the dangers that come with swimming in open water without the right skills.

Mr Sasu said: “I wouldn’t want any other family to experience what we are going through.”

Brian, who had two siblings, a sister aged 17 and younger brother, 9 attended St Mark’s Roman Catholic School in Hounslow, West London ,where a special assembly was held following the news of him going missing.

Brian is believed to have gone to Tagg’s Island with a group of school friends after the school closed early because of excessive heat.

Following the extensive search, Richmond police in southwest London tweeted: “We are sad to report that the body of a 14-year-old boy has been recovered from the Thames this afternoon.

“Our thoughts are with his family, who are being supported by officers.”