Rhodes parasailing deaths: Tributes paid to teenagers

Rhodes parasailing deaths: Tributes paid to teenagers

Tributes have been paid to two British children who died, and another who was seriously injured, in a parasailing accident on the Greek island of Rhodes.

Cousins Michael Connelly (known as Mikey), 13, and Jessica Hayes, 15, from Northamptonshire, died on Wednesday.

Michael’s brother James, 15, was seriously injured when their parachute rope snapped.

The family said they were “devastated” by the loss, which leaves a hole “that will never be filled”.

Two people connected with the parasailing speedboat were arrested.

The boys’ school called the news “tragic” and said it had “shocked the community”.

The teenagers were on holiday with their parents when the accident happened at about noon local time near Lindos.

A spokesperson for the family said: “We are devastated by the loss of Mikey and Jessica. Mikey was an incredibly charismatic, loving and popular boy, and the world is a poorer place without him in it.

“He has left with his beautiful cousin Jessica, who was adored by everyone who knew her.”

Michelle Newman, principal at Kinsgwood Secondary Academy in Corby, attended by Michael and James, said: “We are all incredibly saddened by this tragic incident and the passing of one of our much-loved pupils, Michael Connelly, and his cousin Jessica.

“Mikey was a wonderful pupil, a friend to us all, and a fantastically positive member of our school community.”

Mikey was a member of Genesis Theatre Schools, based in Corby.

Posting a tribute on its Facebook page, the company wrote: “We are heartbroken at the news that pupil Mikey Connelly has died yesterday in a tragic accident on holiday in Greece… along with his cousin, and his brother is currently fighting for his life.”

They described the 13-year-old as “a rare, exceptional talent in acting and so, so funny”.

A Foreign Office spokesman said: “We are supporting the family of two British people following their death in Rhodes, and are in contact with the Greek authorities.”

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