THE friends and family of a Nepalese university student who disappeared in the Murray River say they are in shock after the incident.
Bigul Pandit, 21, had been in waist-deep water at Noreuil Park on Wednesday when he went underwater and failed to resurface.
People at the scene said Mr Pandit’s friends had run from the scene in shock after being unable to find him.
The Charles Sturt University student and cafe worker’s relative, Harry Adhikari, was one of about 30 people from the migrant community who attended Noreuil Park on Thursday.
They watched as divers and other rescuers searched for the 21-year-old man, who migrated from Nepal.
Mr Adhikari is considered his brother in Nepalese culture.
“I don’t have words,” he said.
“As a family, it’s very sad, very sad.
“He’s a young boy and he had so many things to do.
“He’s a very young talented (man).”
Mr Adhikari said his brother had been in a positive mood.
He was living in Thurgoona and studying accounting, and was working at Guru's Star Cafe in Dean Street.
“He was happy and hard working, very honest,” he said.
Mr Pandit was one of about 50 people who attended Noreuil Park for a Baha’i multi-faith gathering on Wednesday before the tragedy, which occurred about 7pm.
The alarm was raised when the 21-year-old went underwater.
Search crews scoured the water until about 10pm on Wednesday and returned early Thursday.
Anne Colabria said Mr Pandit had only been in shallow water.
“The next thing, one of the kids races up to us with big eyes saying ‘we’ve lost him, we’ve lost him, we can’t find him’,” she said.
“We all just bolted up here (to the water).
“The kids had tried to find him, they were in the water trying to find him and in shock themselves.”
Ms Colabria said those who had been in the water with Mr Pandit had to be taken to hospital due to what occurred.
“It’s dreadful,” she said.
“We were just in a real state of shock and disbelief.
“As we stood here (on Wednesday night), we thought he was going to pop up any minute on one of the beaches and get out.
“It was very confronting.”
Paul Bratton said everyone from the community was shattered.
“It was a wonderful afternoon and then of course this happens and we’re all just shattered,” he said.
“They were just standing there and ducking down.
“Because you see someone under waist-deep water you think they’re fine.
“We didn’t know he couldn’t swim.”
Albury and Border Rescue Squad captain Paul Marshall said water visibility was only about 30 to 40 centimetres and urged caution.
“The Murray River is a beast,” he said.
“It’s challenging with the currents and it’s different from anything else in the world.”
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