Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Friend Tells of Bid to Rescue Teenager; 'I Stretched My Arm out, but Couldn't Reach Him, He Was Too Far Away'

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Friend Tells of Bid to Rescue Teenager; 'I Stretched My Arm out, but Couldn't Reach Him, He Was Too Far Away'

Article excerpt

Byline: Katie Davies

ATEENAGER last night told how he tried in vain to save his best friend after he got into difficulty in a fast-flowing river.

A major search operation was launched when Colin Dodds went missing in the Wear beside his home town of Bishop Auckland, County Durham, on Saturday.

Early yesterday, after an extensive 11-hour search, police found the 16-year-old's body in a pool of water, close to where he was last seen.

Colin had gone to the river in the late afternoon to cool off with friends Ryan Howard and Marwan Barq, who are both 16, when the tragedy happened.

Last night Ryan said he tried to reach Colin before he saw his head go under the water.

The teenager, who is also from Bishop Auckland, had been friends with Colin for around five years.

"I tried to grab him and I tried to swim towards him, but I couldn't get to him," Ryan said.

"I stretched my arm out, but I couldn't reach him, he was too far away. "He shouted he couldn't swim, I just started panicking. I told him to kick his legs and arms as much as he could, but then I just saw his head go under and it didn't come back up.

"I just got out and ran up the bank to get help. Some man rang for an ambulance.

I was in so much shock. I was crying and shaking."

Colin and his friends had been to Darlington before they returned home. "We just went in the river to cool off because it was too hot," Ryan said.

"We've never been up this part of the river before, but we just went in."

After leaving the river banks on Saturday night, Ryan was woken on Sunday by his mother with news of Colin's fate.

He said: "My mum woke me up this morning to say they had found the body at around 4am. As soon as I heard I just went and got some flowers and came back up the river to lay them.

"When I came down I just kept thinking he was walking behind me. …

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