The search for a teenager who went missing while swimming with friends in the Murray River on Christmas Day has entered day three as his former school issued a heartfelt letter of support to the community.
Jules Lunanga, 18, was swimming with a group of teenage friends in the river at Noreuil Park in Albury in southern NSW about 2.15pm on Christmas Day.
Police say the group “got into difficulties” but the circumstances of those difficulties remain unclear.
The group was helped out of the water, but one person – Mr Lunanga – was unaccounted for.
Emergency services were alerted and a joint multi-agency search to locate the boy began.
Until 8.40pm on Christmas Day, officers from the Murray River Police District, volunteers, drone operators and other emergency services searched the area.
The search is now in its third day, with friends, family and Mr Lunanga’s former school Wodonga Senior Secondary School sharing their support online.
In a letter, Wodonga Senior Secondary School principal Vern Hilditch encouraged the school community to band together during this difficult time.
“I am writing to you with some sad news about a member of our school community,” Mr Hilditch said.
“One of our former year 11 students is missing and feared to have drowned in a tragic accident at Noreuil Park, Albury on Saturday 25th December.
“Our thoughts and heartfelt sympathy are with Jules Lunanga’s family and friends and the wider Congolese community. Our thanks are extended to the police and the rescue teams still working at the scene.”
“We encourage you all to have open conversations with your young person about positive ways of seeking help if they are feeling low or hopeless.
“Today and over the coming weeks, you may be concerned about the reactions of your child to this news.
“(We) ask you to take care of yourselves and each other during this difficult time.”
More to come