The 13-year-old boy was found dead in the river after a search despite agonizing efforts to save him

Aryan Ghoniya, 13, was found in the River Taff, Whitchurch, Cardiff and unfortunately could not be resuscitated despite the efforts of the emergency services

Aryan Ghoniya
Aryan Ghoniya was found on Tuesday

The family of a 13-year-old boy found dead in a river said: “There won’t be a day when we won’t miss him”.

Aryan Ghoniya was found near the Melingriffith water pump in the River Taff, Whitchurch, Cardiff, on Tuesday at 5.45pm following a major rescue effort to locate him.

About an hour earlier, the emergency services received a report about children in the river and that a boy was missing. Reports from Wales Online.

Police, paramedics, firefighters and lifeguards were all involved in the search, which local residents said included a helicopter flying back and forth “very close to land”.

Aryan was found an hour later and could not be revived.

A family statement released on Wednesday said: “Our family is devastated by the tragic death of Aryan, but we are touched by the way the community, including police and other emergency services, have tried to help us to support. Aryan was our little professor—brilliant at math and a jack of all trades.

Tributes such as flowers, balloons and cards were left on the banks of the River Taff in Cardiff



“He was very academic with a warm and loving personality. There won’t be a day that we don’t miss him.”

Some left balloons, tributes and flowers for Aryan under the bridge on Wednesday afternoon.

Special police were also pictured in the area after the incident.

A crime scene tribute read: “You never know the last time you saw a place or a person. You will always have a place in our hearts.”

One read: “Rip Aryan you will be missed so much by everyone you never failed to put a smile on our faces. You will be in our hearts forever.”



Another letter said: “You will be missed so much by everyone, you never failed to put a smile on our face and you will be in our hearts forever.”

Police blocked access to a footpath near the scene of the crime on Wednesday afternoon pending further investigation by the police dive team.

Samantha Camilleri, who has lived in Whitchurch for most of her life, recalled Tuesday’s incident: “The sirens were constantly wailing and I knew immediately they were looking for someone. The helicopter came down very close.”

On-site emergency services



She added: “Everyone knows everyone here and it will be a huge shock to the community. Those poor parents too – absolutely heartbreaking.”

Another woman, who lives near Forest Farm Road, where emergency services were initially stationed before being moved to the water pump, said she initially mistook the incident for a forest fire due to the “sheer volume of fire engines”.

They added, “It was pretty obvious that something very serious had happened.”

The joint side of Labor councilors from Whitchurch and Tongwynlais shared their own tribute to Aryan.

They said: “Our hearts go out to the family and friends of the 13-year-old boy who passed away. It is clear that the emergency services responded quickly and significantly and we await further details.”

A police unit on site



According to the National Water Safety Forum, there were 26 accidental drowning deaths in Wales in 2021 at inland and coastal locations. In 2020 there were 25.

It is the second river death in south Wales in less than a month after the body of another 13-year-old, Kane Edwards from Morriston, was found in the River Tawe near Swansea Enterprise Park on May 24.

On Tuesday evening, Detective Inspector Abi Biddle said: “At 4.45pm today, Tuesday 21 June, a report was received of children in the River Taff, near Forest Farm Road, Whitchurch, Cardiff and a boy missing. A comprehensive search was carried out by the police, fire brigade, ambulance, coast guard and police helicopter.

“The missing 13-year-old boy was found in the river around 5.45pm and could not be resuscitated despite the efforts of the emergency services.

“The boy’s family has been informed and is receiving support at this time. HM Coroner has been informed and an investigation into the circumstances of the incident is ongoing.”

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