Teen's body found in floodwaters four days after going missing

Warning: This story contains images and names of Indigenous people who have died.

The body of a 19-year-old man who went missing while swimming in floodwaters has been found.

Nungarra Kelly was swimming in the Murrumbidgee River at Balranald, in NSW’s southwest, on Saturday when a passerby noticed the teen being dragged underwater and alerted police.

Nungarra Kelly is pictured. His body has been found in floodwaters.
The body of Nungarra Kelly, 19, has been found in floodwaters after he disappeared on Saturday. Source: NSW Police

Police were called to the scene at about 12pm and were joined by SES, Rural Fire Service and Marine Rescue in conducting a land and water search.

Tragically, Mr Kelly’s body was found in Balranald about 8.30am on Wednesday.

Family shocked by 'tragic loss'

Mr Kelly was part of the Mutti Mutti community, the traditional owners of the local land, ABC reported.

Even before his body was found, his family believed Mr Kelly had likely drowned in the river. They had set up a vigil by the water and vowed not to leave until their boy was found.

Murrumbidgee River is flooded in an area where a teenage boy drowned.
Recent photos of the Murrumbidgee River show heavy flooding near where Mr Kelly went missing. Source: Google Maps

"For this to happen, we're in shock that we're here," one of Mr Kelly's aunties, Bernadette Pappin, told the ABC. "As a family group we're devastated, it's broke us. We all want to find Nungarra and bring him home, he needs to be home with his people."

Another aunty, Tanya Charles, said some of the family were "starting to come to terms" with Mr Kelly's death and said it was a "tragic loss" for everyone. A report will now be prepared for the coroner.

It's the third death this month linked to NSW's flooding crisis after Ljubisa "Les" Vugec, 85, and Dianne Smith, 60, died when the central western town of Eugowra was devastated by floodwaters.

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