Boy, 16, dies trying to save friend in reservoir despite not being able to swim

A boy has tragically died in Rotherham after trying to save his friend who was struggling to swim.

Sam Haycock, 16, couldn't swim but that didn't stop him when his best friend, also 16, started struggling in the currents of Ulley Reservoir on Friday.

A third boy rang the emergency services who raced to the scene but were unable to save his life, Yorkshire Live reports.

Specialist teams launched a huge search for the youngster, with people told to avoid the area while the rescue personnel carried out their work.

Police cordoned off the site as fire crews and lifeboat teams assisted the search effort.

Later that night South Yorkshire Police's underwater search team made the grim discovery while specialist officers provided what support they could to his grieving parents Simon and Gaynor, 55, who have five older boys.

Family friend Theresa Glenn who is comforting them has set up a GoFundMe page to raise money, and with the permission of Sam's parents, told YorkshireLive how the tragedy unfolded.

The area is a popular one with swimmers, walkers and picnic-goers – especially when the weather is warm though. Theresa says it's unclear how well he knew that particular reservoir.

She said: "There were three boys including Sam who jumped in and tried to save his friend. It is typical of him, he and his mum would do anything for anyone who needed help.

"Obviously they are absolutely distraught about what has happened but Gaynor is proud of what he tried to do and will treasure that detail for the rest of her life.

"It was his last day at Oakwood High School and they told each other: 'I love you' as he left their home in East Dene. It was completely out of character for him as he's a 16-year-old boy!

"She told him to be back for 4pm and didn't know where he was when he went missing but the police were round very quickly to inform them of what had happened and Simon identified his son.

"I have known Sam since he was four years old and he was a cheeky chappie with lots of friends. He just wanted to be liked and we will never forget him.

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"He was a top Judo expert and flew all over Europe taking part in competitions representing his country. He wanted to work in the construction industry but hadn't got anything lined up.

"It has been a dreadful time for his mum. She has had to have one of her legs amputated and has been in poor health for the last couple of years but has been very brave throughout it all.

"Sam was like his mum. He would not have thought of the danger. He just saw his friend struggling and tried to help."

In her GoFundMe profile, Theresa wrote: "A good friend of mine tragically lost her son today.

"I have set this GoFundMe up to show how us as a community and me as a friend will support you all through this heartbreaking time.

"I've known Sam from being at least five years old. The first smile I had from him was when I took him a PG Tips monkey up which he had been wanting for ages.

"He loved me from then onwards So many tears and smiles shed today. Let's show this local family love and support through these difficult days. Going to miss telling you off, Sam. RIP beautiful boy."

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