North West Wales

Barmouth coast search for missing teenagers suspended

Barmouth Beach

The search for two teenagers missing off the Gwynedd coast has been called off for the night.

Waseem Muflihi, 15, and Yahya Mohammed, 14, got into difficulty in the water at Barmouth beach on Sunday afternoon.

They were part of a group of about 500 visitors from the Somali and Yemeni communities in Birmingham.

The coastguard resumed a search of the shoreline on Monday evening and will start again at first light on Tuesday.

David Baily, the RNLI's lifeboat operations manager at Barmouth, said it had been stopped on Monday afternoon while teams waited for the right tidal conditions.

The coastguard said one person had been seen to "disappear under the water" and another person in the same group tried to help but managed to get out safely.

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Media captionAli Yafai, who was part of the group, was one of those who raised the alarm on Sunday

Zaid Hassan, chairman of the Yemeni Community Association in Birmingham, helped organise the trip and said there were two Somali families while the rest were Yemeni.

He said the 15-year-old is Yemeni and when his mother found out she fainted, needing hospital treatment, but has now returned to Birmingham with the rest of the group.

The other boy is Somali.

"As soon as we arrived in Barmouth, we gathered together to enjoy the day but unfortunately the happiness did not last long," said Mr Hassan.

"After one hour, two boys in the sea were struggling to get out but they couldn't.

"A number of the community were trying to rescue them but the wind and the waves were strong and they couldn't do much.

"At first we thought it was just one man struggling [in the sea]. He could not swim back to the beach.

"The emergency rescue team was called and then the man said there were also two boys.

"He said: 'I tried [to save them] but I couldn't.'

He added: "We are shocked, it's a tragedy and for the families we are so upset.

"It's like a dream. We cannot believe what's happened."

After the teenagers went missing, a coastguard rescue helicopter, lifeboats, coastguard rescue teams and police were all involved in the search.

Conditions in the area were "choppy" and searches were carried out in strong winds but the boys were not found.

A coastguard spokeswoman said: "There were a lot of people there - our report was that there were a number of people in the water and two people unaccounted for, one person had been seen to disappear under the water.

"When the group on the beach checked who they had with them and who they didn't there were two people from the group unaccounted for and missing in the water."

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