Leeds & West Yorkshire

Halifax rugby player Harry Sykes drowns on France tour

Harry Sykes Image copyright Rugby Football League
Image caption Harry Sykes, 16, played rugby with the Halifax Elite Rugby Academy

A 16-year-old rugby player has reportedly drowned while on a youth academy tour in southern France.

Harry Sykes, from West Yorkshire, was in Carcassonne, Aude, as part of a trip with Halifax Elite Rugby Academy.

Police divers found a body at Lac de la Cavayère late on Wednesday after a two-hour search, local media reported.

The Foreign Office said it was supporting the family of a British national and was in touch with local authorities.

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In a statement, the academy said: "We are devastated beyond words to confirm that one of our players, Harry Sykes, passed away yesterday.

"A full tribute will be released in due course but at the moment we are all coming to terms with the loss of a truly kind, honest and committed young man."

Image copyright Google
Image caption The boy's body was recovered from Lac de la Cavayère late on Wednesday, according to local media

The group, which had been based in the French city since Monday, had gone on the trip to play a series of matches against local teams.

Earlier on Wednesday, the academy shared a photo of the group on the edge of the lake, with floats, slides and other activities visible in the background.

Image copyright Halifax Elite Rugby Academy
Image caption Halifax Elite Rugby Academy called Harry a 'truly kind, honest and committed young man'

Ralph Rimmer, chief executive of the Rugby Football League, said: "We are extremely saddened by the tragic news that Halifax Elite Rugby Academy's Harry Sykes has passed away.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with Harry's family, friends and teammates at this sad time."

A Rugby Football League Benevolent Fund spokesperson said: "His family thank everyone for their kind thoughts but wish to be left alone at this most difficult of times."

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