Teenager dies after falling into canal while playing with friends

Rafael Pizarro
Rafael Pizarro

A 13-year-old boy who fell into a canal while playing with friends has died.

Rafael Pizarro was rushed to hospital in a critical condition on the evening of June 5 after emergency services were called to a stretch of Rochdale Canal at Boarshaw Clough Way, Middleton, Rochdale, Greater Manchester, England.

Police said Rafael died in the early hours of Tuesday.

There are not believed to be any suspicious circumstances surrounding his death.

His family have appealed to parents to discuss water safety with their children to help prevent similar tragedies.

In a tribute issued via Greater Manchester Police, they said: "We are devastated with the loss of Rafael and are lost for words. It is hard to comprehend what has happened over the last week.

"Rafael had a big impact on his family and friends and was much loved and we will truly miss him.

"Out of this tragedy we are comforted to know that his organ donation will help others in Manchester and across the country.

"We would like to thank the staff at Manchester Children's Hospital for their support and hard work caring for Rafael.

"As a family we would urge all parents to talk to their children around water safety so no other family have to go through what we are dealing with. We would ask for privacy at this time to grieve.

"We will pray for Rafael. We know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28."

Detective Inspector Kate Atton said: "Rafael's death is believed to be a tragic accident and the case will now be passed to the coroner for progression.

"My thoughts are with Rafael's family and friends as well as his school colleagues at this terrible and sad time.

"I would urge people, especially children, to take care around the water and try not to swim anywhere other than supervised swimming pools."