Two 11-year-old boys who drowned at an Adelaide beach will be farewelled together, a community leader says.
The mates from Adelaide’s northern suburbs, named in reports as Frank Ndikuriyo and Thierry Niyomwungere, were among five children who got into difficulty north of the Glenelg jetty about 6pm on New Year’s Day.
Lifesavers say the group were playing on a rocky breakwater about 500m from the patrolled area before the tragedy unfolded.
The boys’ families reportedly moved from Burundi about 10 years ago.
South Australian president of the Association of the Burundians Community, Modeste Hatungimana, said the boys were talented soccer players and singers who sang together at the Amazing Grace Gospel Church.
“These kids were people who had very bright futures,” he told The Advertiser.
The two friends would be farewelled in a joint funeral, he said.
One of the surviving children in the group, Bonaventure Irakoze, says strong waves pulled them out to sea.
“When we tried to get out … the wave kept on coming faster and heavier,” he told Channel Seven on Saturday.
“Thierry, he was on the rocks. But when the waves came, they took him out.
“I don’t want to go back to the beach.”
Frank’s father, Etienne Ndikuriyo, said his son was a happy boy who was loved by everyone.
“He liked playing soccer, singing,” he told the Nine Network.
“He had a lot of friends.”
Lifesavers rescued three children, but Frank and Thierry were missing.
One was found at the northern end of the breakwater, and the other was found by a member of the public about 100m away.
Ambulance crews and lifesavers worked to revive the children, but one of the boys died at the scene.
The other was pronounced dead on arrival at the Women’s and Children’s Hospital.