Wednesday 26 September 2018

'He just melted your heart' - Heartbroken parents of Kayden (5) who died after being swept away in fast-flowing river

Kayden Fleck (inset)
Kayden Fleck (inset)

Deborah McAleese

The heartbroken parents of a five-year-boy who died after being swept away in a fast-flowing river in Northern Ireland have said their son "just melted your heart".

Darrel and Leanne Fleck said their son Kayden was "happy-go-lucky" and "your average wee boy".

They described Kayden and his twin brother, Jayden, as "the two musketeers".

A statement released by the Police Service of Northern Ireland on behalf of Mr and Mrs Fleck added: "The family want to thank each of the agencies who were involved in the search and rescue operation yesterday, and say they are grateful for the community support they have received since."

Kayden Fleck (right) with his twin brother Jayden (left) Credit: PSNI/PA Wire
Kayden Fleck (right) with his twin brother Jayden (left) Credit: PSNI/PA Wire

Kayden was swept away more than four miles down the Braid River in Ballymena, Co Antrim, on Saturday.

A major search and rescue operation was launched and the boy was recovered from the river and airlifted to the hospital, but he was declared dead shortly afterwards.

The boy's school, Harryville Primary, has asked for everyone to remember Kayden's family in their prayers.

In a statement on Facebook, the school said it was "a very sad time".

Kayden Fleck, who died after being swept away in a fast-flowing river in Northern Ireland Credit: PSNI/PA Wire
Kayden Fleck, who died after being swept away in a fast-flowing river in Northern Ireland Credit: PSNI/PA Wire

Kayden fell into the river near Skye Park at around 1pm on Saturday.

He was recovered from the water more than 45 minutes later near Tullaghgarley and immediately airlifted to hospital.

As news of the tragedy unfolded, the boy's school was inundated with messages of condolence for his family.

Posts on the school's Facebook wall read: "You are all in my thoughts and prayers at this time of unimaginable loss."

Another said: "Bless this wee man. You will be deeply missed."

Last night tributes flooded in over social media for the Ballymena boy.

One mum wrote: “Wee angel taken too soon had his whole life ahead of him.” Another said: “Totally heartbreaking, thoughts and prayers with you.”

Leader of the TUV Jim Allister also wrote on Twitter he offered his "heartfelt sympathy".

"Awful loss for local Ballymena family in today's river tragedy. Heartfelt sympathy at this terrible time. To lose a child must be nigh unbearable. The emergency services were marvellous but it was not to be enough. So sad."

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