Missing teen feared dead
MISSING Kenyan teenager Samuel Macharia is feared drowned after a full land and ocean search failed to locate him on Monday.
The 16-year-old student, who originally came to Australia as an orphan sponsored by Tweed Shire Council five years ago, never returned home following an afternoon run and swim at Cabarita Beach on Sunday.
Police were contacted about 7pm (NSW) on Sunday after family members found a backpack with his clothes and mobile phone on the beach.
Police, surf life savers, family members and volunteers searched into the night with help from the Coast Guard and Marine Rescue NSW.
They were back again at dawn with the help of the Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter using two inflatable rigid boats and jet skis to search the choppy seas while police vehicles scoured the shore.
Friends and family of the teenager have held a vigil on the Cabarita Beach headland since Monday morning.
"The conditions are pretty tough at the moment and our guys have done a fantastic job, both last night and early this morning," said far north coast emergency coordinator Jimmy Keough.
"Incidents such as these should really reinforce to people the importance of only swimming between the red and yellow flags at a patrolled beach."
Samuel had never seen a beach before leaving the slums of Nairobi for Australia to start a new life as an emerging soccer star.
He came to Australia in 2007 on a cultural exchange program sponsored by the council and was welcomed into the home of temporary foster parents Bernie and Sandra Zietlow.
The Lindisfarne Anglican Grammar School student was just days away from his Year 10 graduation when he was reported missing.
Coffs Harbour water police will resume the search from 6.30am on Tuesday.