A FAMILY has paid tribute to a “much loved” teenager feared dead after swimming off the coast of south west France.
Kieran Knight, who attended Fairmeadows and William Allitt schools in Newhall, disappeared after getting into difficulty while swimming with his father near the town of Messanges.
It is believed Kieran (pictured) was caught by a strong undercurrent and could not get back to shore. Rescue attempts have now been called off.
A statement on behalf of the Newhall family was issued by the Foreign Office. It said: “While holidaying with his family on the Atlantic coast in south sest France, Kieran Knight, aged 16, got caught by a strong undercurrent and was unable to make his way back to shore.
“Despite extensive ongoing searches by the authorities, Kieran has not been located.
“Kieran’s family would like to request privacy at this time to come to terms with this tragic event concerning their much loved son.”
A patrol boat and three helicopters were scrambled in the search for Kieran but without success, France’s Atlantic maritime authority said.
Tributes have poured in for the Newhall teenager from friends and family on social networking sites.
Susan Grice said: “My heart goes out to his mum, dad and grandparents.”
Isaac Mulcrone posted: “I know Kieran, we used to live very close to them. We were friends. We used to go to the same church.”