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Manchester: Family speak of heartbreak after ‘timid’ girl, 12, drowns in River Irwell

The girl, identified by relatives as Shukri Yahya Abdi, was found by search teams at the River Irwell in Bury on Thursday.

The girl, identified by relatives as Shukri Yahya Abdi, was found by search teams at the River Irwell in Bury on Thursday.

The “heartbroken” family of a 12-year-old girl who drowned in a river have described her as a timid youngster who would never normally go into the water.

Relatives named the schoolgirl as Shukri Yahya Abdi who was a refugee from Somalia. She had moved to Bury, Greater Manchester, over a year ago.

Emergency services pulled her from the River Irwell close to Bury police station late on Thursday night after a three-hour search of the water.

The girl’s uncle Mustaf Omar told Sky News: “She was a sweet innocent child, she stayed at home helped her mum 24/7.

“Everything about it is out of character for her – for her to come out and play out on the river….she can’t swim.”

Greater Manchester Police said: “We have a team of detectives working on this, but there are not believed to be any suspicious circumstances at this time.”

They reiterated warnings about people playing in rivers or open water during hot weather but her family called on them to investigate the tragedy further.

Her uncle added: “Her mum is destroyed, absolutely destroyed, she is in shock, she doesn’t know what has happened, she doesn’t know why….she is just heartbroken.”

The girl’s uncle Mustaf Omar says it was out of character for Shukri to play out on the river

Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service watch manager Steve Wilcock said the girl had been with two friends.

He told the Manchester Evening News: “When the crews arrived on the scene, there were two other children who had seen their friend disappear in the river.”

Mr Wilcock said the river was more than 20ft deep in parts.

He added: “I would really emphasise to children not to play out in open waterways.”

It comes as two men died after being pulled from the water off a beach in Torquay on Thursday afternoon.

The bodies of the unnamed men, aged 25 and 26, were recovered from the sea close to Babbacombe Beach at around 2pm, Devon and Cornwall Police said.

They were taken to Torbay Hospital but were later pronounced dead.

Rescue teams were also called out to two other incidents in the area.

Temperatures reached 24C (75.2F) in the area on Thursday. That is expected to rise as the UK is set to experience the hottest day of the year so far this weekend.

A short hot spell will see the mercury climb, with a maximum of 34C (93.2F) in London and the east of England on Saturday.

Saharan winds have brought high temperatures in parts of Europe, with France recording its hottest ever day on Friday.


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