Family haka after boy’s body pulled from lake
A teenager drowned in Lake Parramatta while on a day out with friends yesterday.
The boy disappeared during an afternoon swim at the popular western Sydney spot just after 2pm.
His distraught family gathered as the red sun set over the river to perform a moving haka as his body was taken away by funeral home staff.
Friends and family also prayed together with hands raised alongside a police chaplain, who attended the tragic scene for their support.
A couple believed to be the boy's parents were taken to view the boy before he was stretchered out of the basin with the assistance of police.
Police divers were required to retrieve the boy from the lake, which is several metres deep outside the marked swimming area.
The lake is now closed until further notice after hysteria over the boy's disappearance prompted police to evacuate all members of the public from the area.
Three volunteer lifesavers from Surf Life Saving Australia were on duty when the tragedy occurred and attempted to search for the boy as emergency services made their way to the scene.
The lake is staffed with three volunteer lifesavers from 9am to 6pm every day during the peak summer season.
Earlier this year a 49-year-old man also drowned in Lake Parramatta.
He was found unresponsive in the water on February 8 and despite efforts from a 17-year-old boy who tried to save the man, he couldn't be revived.
The City of Parramatta website advises swimmers not to swim alone, check conditions before entering and take care on the slippery lake bed.
Lifesavers are on duty every day in summer during school holidays, on public holidays and on weekends.
The lake was reopened for public swimming in January 2015 after the Our Living River project rehabilitated the environment so it was safe for swimmers.