'They were scared': Heartbroken dad's message after son's tragic river death

The heartbroken father of a teenage boy who drowned in a Perth river said the police who were chasing him shouldn’t be blamed for his death.

Chris Drage and his best friend lost their lives when, along with three others, they fled from police before four of them jumped into the Swan River on Monday.

Officers had been called to Maylands after reports the group had broken into a home and were jumping fences.

Chris’s father, Christopher, has appealed for understanding, calling it a “silly mistake” which turned fatal.

The father of Chris Drage said police are not to blame for his son’s death after jumped into Perth’s Swan River with friends as they fled police. Source: 7 News

“Obviously, they were scared,” Mr Drage said. 

“They were only young boys. I ask people not to be judgemental and I think we all make silly mistakes as kids.” 

“It’s just tragic that they lost their lives.”

He added there is no anger over his boy’s death, just incredible sadness and pain. 

“A lot of people want to blame other people, upbringings and police,” he said.  

“But I suppose these young boys, that’s their way of having fun and unfortunately that cost them their lives.”

Officers search the Swan River on Monday after a group of boys jumped in to escape from police. Source: 7 News

When asked if he had any anger towards police, he replied: “no”.

The families of the boys are organising a gathering at the river in Maylands on Saturday afternoon.  

They say they want it to be peaceful and a chance for people to come together and grieve, not to blame anyone for the deaths. 

Two other boys who jumped in the river survived.  They were arrested but have not charged. 

A memorial near the Swan River where two boys died on Monday. Source: 7 News