THE 12-YEAR-OLD girl who drowned in the River Irwell yesterday has been named as Shukri Yahya.

Police were called just before 8pm yesterday, with concerns for the welfare of the girl, who was last seen in the river close to Dunster Road, in Bury.

Underwater search teams searched the river and found the body of a 12-year-old girl.

The girl's family visited the scene of the incident this afternoon and paid tribute to her memory.

Uncle Mustaf Omar said Shukri was "everything a child should be" and spent her time helping her mother who recently came to the UK as a refugee.

"She was a sweet, innocent child," he said.

"She helped her mum out 24/7. Her mum was new to the country as well so she was just doing everthing.

"There was no dad in the household so she helped her brothers and sisters every morning."

Mr Omar said he believed that Shukri could not swim and had got into difficulty in the water.

Police do not believe there to be any suspicious circumstance and have warned people to avoid swimming in freshwater.

The girl is thought to have been two friends, also aged 12, when the incident occurred.

Steve Wilcock, watch manager at Bury Fire Station, said his crews had been called to help with the search and spent nearly three hours looking for the girl.

"They went into the water and swept the depths," he said. "They did as much as they could over a number of hours.

He explained that in some areas around Dunster Road the Irwell's waters can reach up to 20ft deep.

"You wouldn't think it to look at but it's actually quite deep in some places. It's freezing cold water and there are things below the surface that people can't see."

Detective Inspector Andrew Naismith, of GMP’s Bury district, said: “This is an incredibly tragic incident in which a young girl has lost her life, and my thoughts are with her family at this devastating time.

“We have a team of detectives working on this, but there are not believed to be any suspicious circumstances at this time.

“With the warmer weather, it’s tempting to go into the water to cool off, but I’d like to remind everyone of the dangers of playing near or swimming in rivers, lakes and reservoirs and would strongly urge against this.”

Stewart Hall has lived in the area near the river for more than 10 years.

He said he had seen a helicopter circling the area last night but had not realised what happened until a neighbour told him this morning.

The 50-year-old called the incident "harrowing".

He added: "It's really bad for this to happen to a girl that young."

Anyone with information should contact 0161 856 8172 quoting reference number 2154 of 27/06/19 or the independent charity Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.