Police arrived within minutes after Walsall boy fell into canal but couldn't find him

Officers searching for a young boy who died after falling into a canal arrived within minutes of him being reported missing, but were unable to find him.

Tributes next to the canal where Madiba Diaby was found
Tributes next to the canal where Madiba Diaby was found

Madiba Diaby died in hospital from drowning on March 4, days before his fifth birthday, after falling into the Wyrley and Essington Canal off Razorbill Way in Harden, Walsall.

West Midlands Police's Blakenall, Leamore, Birchills neighbourhood policing team were first on the scene when the schoolboy was reported missing from a property in the area at around midday.

He was found in the canal and pulled out by police officers but died shortly after arriving in hospital.

A force community newsletter stated: "The team dealt with the tragic incident in which a boy died after falling into the canal after going missing.

"They were on the scene within minutes of the boy being reported missing, but were unable to find him.

"They were alerted a few minutes later that his body was in the water. Three of the team went into the water to recover him and provided emergency first aid until paramedics arrived, but unfortunately he did not survive.

"This was a very traumatic incident for the officers involved."

In the aftermath of the tragedy the force said: "Our thoughts are with his family, and the rest of the community, at this deeply distressing time."

The inquest has been opened and adjourned to a date to be fixed. The cause of death was given as drowning.

Leading tributes, his devastated family said: "Madiba was a good, happy boy."

Meanwhile community groups have joined staff and parents at Valley Nursery School, in Blakenall, where he was a pupil to support the family.

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