A teenager whose body was pulled from the sea at Blackpool has been described as a ‘lovely lad’ by his family.
A major rescue operation was launched in a bid to save Michael Buckley, 18, who was pronounced dead at the scene on Wednesday evening.
His aunt, Lavinia Buckley, said: “Michael was a lovely lad and loved coming to Blackpool.”
Tributes have also been paid online to the 18-year-old, who lived in Derby, and an online fundraising page has been set up in his name.
His family has appealed for donations to the RNLI, whose volunteers joined the search for Mr Buckley, despite the dangerous weather conditions which hampered the rescue effort.
On the JustGiving page, his uncle Sean wrote: “Our Michael was a lovely, caring, bubbly 18 years old lad.
“(He) loved life and enjoyed visiting Blackpool – it was like his second home.
“He tragically lost his life when he got in trouble in the sea near the North Pier.
“The RNLI tried to save him but were unable to due to extreme weather conditions.
“This is why we would like to raise money for the RNLI in memory of Michael Buckley so our support may save others.”
One person who anonymously supported the appeal wrote online: “Mike was one of the kindest, gentlest and most loving young men I have ever had the pleasure of knowing.
He is very sadly missed.”
Dozens more tributes were posted on social media.
Lancashire Police confirmed officers were called out at around 8.20pm on Wednesday.
A spokesman added: “A short time later an 18-year-old man was recovered from the sea and sadly pronounced dead at the scene.”
The teenager’s death is not being treated as suspicious, the force has confirmed.
· To support the appeal, visit: www.justgiving.com/michaelbuckley1999
A helicopter was scrambled to the scene to help find Michael Buckley.
It’s light was seen shining down as emergency services and RNLI volunteers searched from the shore.
Blackpool RNLI later tweeted to say dangerous weather conditions meant its lifeboats could not be launched.