Northern Ireland news

Tributes paid to Co Antrim schoolboy Lewis Fleming after 'tragic accident' at Co Wicklow waterfall

Lewis Fleming in a race posted by Coleraine Grammar School on its Facebook page. The teenager won a team silver medal running for Year 10

A 15-year-old boy who died at a waterfall during a holiday in Co Wicklow was a popular all-round sportsman whose death is "a huge loss to all who knew him".

Lewis Fleming, from Ballymoney, Co Antrim, was pronounced dead at the popular Powerscourt beauty spot on Wednesday afternoon.

Gardai, Dublin Coastguard, fire services, ambulance personnel and a mountain rescue team were all called to the scene at around 2.30pm and a second person was rescued near the top of the waterfall.

Authorities are understood to be treating the death at the country estate and tourist site as a "tragic accident".

The Coleraine Grammar School pupil was described as "as a lovely young man, about to enter Year 12" by principal David Carruthers, who said teachers and pupils are "devastated".

"(He) contributed hugely to school life in the classroom, on the rugby field, the athletics track and in the swimming pool," he said.

"Lewis had a wide circle of friends, a great sense of fun and will be sorely missed by everyone.

"I personally found Lewis to be an engaging, pleasant pupil who was always happy to have a chat.

"This is a real tragedy and a terrible loss for Lewis's whole family and for our school community. Our thoughts and prayers are with Lewis's family at this tragic time."

Swim Ulster said members are "deeply saddened to hear the tragic news".

The teenager was a senior squad member of Ballymoney Swimming Club and "played a major part in the relay teams, PTL and open competitions".

"Lewis had many friends in the club and indeed the wider swimming community and the loss of his friendship and companionship will be a huge loss to all who knew him," it said.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with him mum Gillian, dad Angus, brothers Aaron and Harris and the family circle at this difficult time."

East Derry independent assembly member Claire Sugden said his death is "heartbreaking".

"I really struggle to find words when a young, vibrant life is taken too soon. I send my love to all who knew Lewis.

"The time ahead will be so difficult. I hope you find strength in your wonderful memories of him."

Sinn Féin assembly member Philip McGuigan also said he was "greatly saddened" and offered "deepest condolences to the families and friends".

"The local community are also in shock by this tragic loss of life.

"As always at times of such heart-breaking tragedy the local community will rally round in love and solidarity in an effort to provide some comfort to the Fleming family in what will be difficult days ahead."

Local TD and Minister for Higher Education Simon Harris paid tribute to the coastguard for its efforts and said the "thoughts of all our community are with the family and friends of the teenager".

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