Teen sucked into drainpipe found dead

A talented young athlete who died after he was sucked down a drainpipe at a golf course at Kew has been described as a "wonderful boy".

A friend found the body of 17-year-old Luke O'Neill while searching in reeds about 40 metres away from the exit of the drain at the Camden Haven Golf Club, Kew, about 7am on Saturday.

Police said Luke, from nearby Bonny Hills, was with a group of friends collecting golf balls in floodwater on Friday afternoon, when he was suddenly pulled into the drain.

Two friends searched for him at the entrance of the drain, and a 16-year-old was also sucked underwater.

He was swept 100 metres through the drain and ended up in a dam at the other end, but Luke did not emerge.

The two friends were taken to Port Macquarie Base Hospital "in a distraught state", and the 16-year-old had water in his lungs, police said.

Inspector Kim Fehon, from the Mid-North Coast local area command, said the friends were walking in waist-deep water.

"They were just looking for the golf balls, it was a regular thing they did."

Inspector Fehon said Luke's friends were very distressed and his death would devastate the community.

"They're local boys. It's an absolutely huge impact. Everybody in that area will know about it. It's a very tight-knit community."

Police warned people to stay away from floods as heavy rain falls across the state this weekend.

Luke was a long-time member of the Camden Haven Bombers AFL club.

Club committee member Chris Wright said he was very gifted and a "wonderful boy".

"He was the type of kid who could turn his hand to anything."

Local police, NSW Fire and Rescue, paramedics and SES volunteers all took part in the search for Luke.

A report is being prepared for the coroner.

smh.com.au

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