Student drowns on dream holiday

A TALENTED teenager has tragically drowned on the holiday of a lifetime in New Zealand.Ratidzo Moyo, 19, was killed swimming in the sea off the popular tourist resort of Mount Maunganui on the North Island as his horrified mates battled to save him.

A TALENTED teenager has tragically drowned on the holiday of a lifetime in New Zealand.

Ratidzo Moyo, 19, was killed swimming in the sea off the popular tourist resort of Mount Maunganui on the North Island as his horrified mates battled to save him.

Mr Moyo, who had just left Sherborne School in Dorset with three A-levels and was due to read Spanish and French at Newcastle University in September, had flown Down Under on March 20 with three friends.

Police say the Zimbabwean-born student had been staying at a house in Mount Maunganui in the beautiful Bay of Plenty when he went for a swim at 5pm last Friday.

Described by friends as a weak swimmer according to police, the tragic teenager, known as Rati to his pals, got into trouble in a rip tide off Tay Street beach.

Ratidzo's mates and surfers spotted he was in serious danger and fought to rescue the terrified tourist - who lived with his sister and brother in Biggleswade, Beds.

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A local police officer said: "They actually got to him but couldn't hold on to him. He just went under. It's terrible."

Patrols were set up along the beach over the weekend so the public would not find the body but he was washed ashore on Sunday night just 500m from where he was last seen.

While living in Biggleswade with his sister Rumbi, 23, and brother Jesse, 28, who works at Jordan's Cereals and plays for Sandy Sunday pub team Sir William Peel, Mr Moyo worked part-time as a waiter at ASK restaurant in the town.

Ms Moyo last night said the family had been torn apart by Ratidzo's death.

The mum-of-two said: "The first we knew something was wrong was when one of his friends called me from the beach after he had gone missing on Friday evening.

"I immediately phoned our mother in Lusaka, Zambia, and told her the terrible news. She is devastated.

"Ratidzo loved his family and my twin boys.

"He was a very sweet and loving brother who did not have a bad bone in his body."

ASK restaurant assistant manager Sue Gipson said: "We are all distraught by the news of Rati's death.

"He was special to me because I took him under my wing. He was very shy but a wonderful young man."

She added: "He had his life mapped out and knew exactly what he wanted to do.

"At the party we gave him we presented him some wine and glasses.

"He liked his wine and he was so happy and looking forward to this trip."