Home » General » Zimbabwean Youth Vanishes While Swimming in UK

THE search continues in the UK for a Zimbabwean youth who disappeared Monday after getting into difficulties while swimming in Stockton-on-Tees, a market town in North East England.

Former Middlesbrough College student, David Zikhali, aged 20, is said to have tried to swim across the River Tees with friends Monday evening, but at some point got into difficulties and became unconscious before vanishing in the river.

A major search of the river by emergency services supported by police divers, lifeboats and a helicopter has been taking place since.

The operation was stood down Tuesday evening with no trace of the 20-year-old. A Cleveland Police spokeswoman confirmed the search would continue Wednesday morning.

Friends and family have gathered at Stockton riverside, anxious to know what happened to the young man who was described as “the type of person to put a smile on people’s faces”.

“We are anxious to know what happened. He was such a sweet boy. He was so popular too,” said a neighbour who has known Zikhali’s family for about seven years.

Among the group at the vigil was best friend Denzel Munzara, who said he hadn’t gone a day without speaking to David since they were children, classing him as more of a brother than a friend.

Calling David “naturally funny”, Munzara, also from Stockton, said: “His presence instantly brought happiness to everyone and everything around him.

“We have a special bond that I can’t really explain. Although David was older than me, I saw him as my younger brother someone who I guided and looked out for. Standing here right now, waiting for him to be found, doesn’t feel real.

“Even if David didn’t know you, he would want to help you. He was a very popular lad who didn’t realise how much people cared about him. Looking around here tonight proves how special he was, and is.”

Another friend, World Indoor Championship sprinter, Richard Kilty paid tribute to his “beautiful mate David Zikhali”.

He said: “David was the most loving guy you’ll ever meet. He’s always laughing, he’s always joking. He’s loved by everyone across Stockton.”

Witnesses reported how a second man was rescued from the river after he attempted to save David.

Describing the moments after the youth vanished, 42 year-old Rob Watt, said: “I was walking along the riverside with my wife and we could hear this yelling,” the 42-year-old said.

“At first we thought it was somebody messing about, but as we came around the corner, we realised the situation was serious.

“There was someone in the water and people at the riverside were shouting for him to get out of the water.

“He wouldn’t move from where he was because he said that was where the other lad had gone under.”

Source : New Zimbabwe