Monday 21 January 2019

Parents tell of anguish over son (5) who fell into river

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

Claire McNeily

The heartbroken parents of a five-year-old boy who died in hospital after falling into a Co Antrim river have paid a moving tribute to their "happy-go-lucky" son "who just melted your heart".

Leanne and Darrel Fleck were speaking just hours after they lost their beloved Kayden, whom they described as "your average wee boy" in what is believed to have been a tragic accident.

The tragedy - which happened exactly a fortnight after his mum and dad got married - is understood to have unfolded when Kayden and twin brother Jayden were playing by the River Braid.

Kayden accidentally fell into the fast-flowing water near Skye Park in Ballymena at around 1pm on Saturday and was quickly swept more than four miles downstream.

It is understood that his father Darrel first raised the alarm after he'd gone looking for the twins, who were thought to have been playing in a park near the Flecks' old family home.

A major multi-agency rescue operation was launched immediately and, after an extensive search, Kayden was recovered from the river near Tullygarley Bridge some two hours later and airlifted to hospital, where he later died.

The devastated parents, who said they affectionately called the twin boys "the two musketeers", also have an older son Daniel (14) and a daughter Amelia (3).

The distraught family were last night being comforted by relatives and close friends. The results of a post-mortem examination are expected today.

In a statement issued by the PSNI on behalf of the family last night, Darrel and Leanne described their "happy-go-lucky" son as "your average wee boy" who "just melted your heart".

"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."

A message from Kayden's school, Harryville Primary School, said it would be open today and tomorrow from noon until 6pm to allow anyone from Harryville, Ballykeel and wider areas to sign a book of condolence.

The multi-agency search operation involved police, firefighters, the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service and Community Rescue Service volunteers.

Irish Independent

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