‘He was protecting his family’: Tragedy as the body of a 16-year-old boy is recovered after he saved his cousin’s life while swimming with friends in rough conditions
- Matiyas Bekuretsion disappeared while swimming at Scarborough Beach, Perth
- The teen, 16, saved his 19-year-old cousin in the rough conditions at night
- Member of the public reported a body had washed up on a beach in Trigg
- Police had to conduct DNA testing to confirm it was Matiyas’ body
Matiyas Bekuretsion (pictured) disappeared after going swimming at Scarborough Beach
The body of a 16-year-old boy who went missing after he heroically rescued his cousin while swimming in rough conditions has been recovered.
Matiyas Bekuretsion vanished while swimming with three friends in rough conditions at Scarborough Beach in Perth about 8pm on Monday.
His body was discovered on Wednesday after a member of the public reported a body washed up at a beach in Trigg.
DNA testing had to be conducted to confirm it was Matiyas, police said, so it wasn’t announced until Friday.
A report will now be prepared for the coroner.
Matiyas, who was not a strong swimmer, hoisted his 19-year-old cousin to safety when he noticed the current was beginning to get rough.
But moments later he disappeared himself, and has not resurfaced.
‘Matiyas was a hero and his last breath was him fighting to save somebody else,’ his cousin Nahom previously told The West Australian.
‘It was honourable, (he was) protecting his family.’
‘He gave himself to his family,’ another family member told Perth Now.
Matiyas went swimming with three other teenagers, who were rescued by locals Pictured: a jet ski searches along Scarborough Beach on Tuesday
Matiyas (pictured) moved to Perth from Ethiopia two years ago and was popular among the local Ethiopian community and the Eternity Sabeh Church
Police are seen consoling the family members of Matiyas after he went missing on Monday
Social media was flooded with tributes to Matiyas’ heartbroken family.
‘Condolences to his family and friends and the wider community. No words are needed to be said to imagine the pain and suffering right now. Much love to you all. So sorry for your loss,’ one person wrote.
‘Sincerest heartfelt sympathy to Matiyas’ family and friends,’ another commented.
‘My condolences to his friends and family. So glad they found his remains and can lay him to rest,’ another comment read.
Matiyas moved to Perth from Ethiopia two years ago and was popular among the local Ethiopian community and the Eternity Sabeh Church.
‘He was a very gifted boy, he never went out. He spent most of his time at school or at home with his family,’ Pastor Mebratu said.
The local community have been left devastated by the incident along with his mother, who is in Ethiopia and has been told the tragic news.
A witness said he saw four people screaming in the water before a local man saved one of them.
‘Four people were in the water, everyone was screaming,’ he earlier said.
‘Two young people got out and two younger people were still in the water. A guy about 60 jumped in there and saved one of them.’
A Surf Life Saving patrol car scans Scarborough Beach (pictured) during the search effort for Matiyas on Tuesday
Video of the search effort showed boats with search lights scouring the water in the darkness.
Six vessels from Water Police and Volunteer Marine Rescue supported by Rescue 651 searched the ocean.
‘The entire FSR fleet including R100, Resolute, Rover 2 and Gemini 1 are part of the multi-agency search off Scarborough Beach,’ Fremantle Sea Rescue said.
An RAC Helicopter, Police air wing, local and water police, Marine Rescue Whitfords and Fire and Emergency Services also assisted in the search effort.
Meanwhile, local residents, police officers and surf lifesavers were seen searching the beach shore with torches.
Search efforts went well into the night and included water police, helicopters, boats and surf life savers (pictured at the scene)