Ross River at the site of August 12 drowning of a nine-year-old girl. Picture: Shae Beplate.
Ross River at the site of August 12 drowning of a nine-year-old girl. Picture: Shae Beplate.

Ross River drowning: Young girl ‘happy’ and ‘always smiling’

A YOUNG girl who drowned in the Ross River has been remembered as a "smiling" and "happy" girl.

The Aitkenvale State School student died after she failed to resurface from the river after falling in on Monday afternoon.

Detectives said the girl, 9, had been playing with her twin sister on the banks of the Ross River at Rossiter Park when it's believed the pair fell in.

The girl, of Congolese background, had only been in Townsville for eight months and she leaves behind four siblings and a single mother.

Safari Irenge, a close family friend and a member of the Congolese community, said the girl was always smiling.

"She was really happy, really happy," he said. "This is a sad moment for us all, especially the family and the Congolese community.

"We are really shocked, really shocked.

"It's not really easy, especially since we are talking about a twin, and she's leaving behind a twin."

Mr Irenge said it had been a tough couple of days, particularly for the mother.

"At this moment, it's a sad moment because they are still grieving their loss," he said.

"It's really difficult for the mum, especially, because she doesn't know ... everything that is going on, especially the process of the police involved."

The family friend said the girl's mother spoke little English and could not ask for help.

"She's really overwhelmed and very sad," Mr Irenge said.

The family is hoping for a cultural burial.

The tragedy comes as the Congolese community continues to mourn the loss of a loved member, who died on August 4.

"This second one (the young girl's death) really brought so many tears again, we still (are) not really knowing how to contain that," he said.

Mr Irenge said he was hoping the wider community would support the family during this difficult time.

Townsville Child Protection Investigation Unit officer-in-charge detective Senior Sergeant Dave Miles said neither of those girls were good at swimming and as a result, the public and family went into the water to help them when they fell on Monday.

The young girl who drowned was unable to be found for about 30 minutes, while her twin sister was able to be saved from the water.



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