Lechlade river: Dad's heartbreaking tribute to 'loving' son Jake Smith, 17, who died swimming in Thames with friends | The Sun

THE teenage boy who died in a River Thames tragedy after swimming with friends has been named in a heart-breaking social media tribute by his dad.

Jake Smith, 17, drowned whilst swimming with four other friends near The Round House in Lechlade, Gloucestershire.

After he failed to re-surface, his pals dived in and tried to locate him in the water but sadly failed.

Emergency services were called and after 12 hours, his body was found yesterday by specialist police divers.

The friends have been accounted for and Jake's death is not being treated as suspicious.

Today Jake's father Alan posted a emotional tribute to his son on social media.

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He wrote: "Our son and loving brother to Megan Smith and Lucy Smith – you were taken away from us now nothing feels the same inside we love you with all our hearts son R.I.P."

While Jake's cousin Nicola Watts posted: "My love goes out to charn and the rest of my family during this hard time, taken to soon jake smith Rest in peace cousin."

Jake's family said the support they have had since has been overwhelming and urged others to think about water safety.

In a short statement, they said: "We unfortunately lost Jake in a tragic accident. The support and messages we have received have been overwhelming, and shows the love that people had.

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"Jake will be missed by all his family and friends. We would like to thank the emergency services, the community and especially The Riverside for their kindness and support.

"Although this was a tragic accident, we urge people to stop and think before they jump into the river."

In response, dozens of people have left messages of condolence on social media.

One said: "No words can describe the pain you are all going through, Jake was the kindest young lad I have ever known. You will be missed by all of us.

Rest in Peace now buddy x"

Another wrote: "Such a happy, loving and generous soul, words cannot describe what you are all going through right now. So sorry for your loss, rest in peace Jake."

A third said: "I'm so sorry for your loss, this absolutely breaks my heart.

"Jake was such a lovely, kind hearted soul and a pleasure to be around.

"The world is a far worse place without him. Love to all of you x."

Police rushed to the scene in Lechlade-on Thames after emergency calls were made around 10pm on Sunday night.

Witnesses described seeing a helicopter and officers with torches searching the area near Halfpenny Bridge.

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Search boats were launched from Lechlade Marina as cops scoured the area.

A boat from Severn Area Rescue Association (SARA) was also sent to the scene but it is unclear if it was used in the search.

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