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Pictured: Schoolgirl, 15, who fell into swollen Welsh river and drowned during Storm Ellen

A 15-year-old girl has drowned after being swept away in a swollen river during Storm Ellen.

Schoolgirl Nicola Williams had been playing with friends on the banks of the River Rhymney in Cardiff when she fell into the fast-flowing water.

A friend jumped in to save her but she was carried away – and it took emergency services an hour to find her on the twisting river alongside the Cardiff University sports fields.

The alarm was raised and a huge fleet of emergency services rushed to the river bank at Llanrumney, Cardiff, including police, coastguard, paramedics and firefighters.

Search boats and helicopter were also deployed and Nicola was pulled from the water after an hour long hunt.

Her family was described as ‘devastated’ at the tragic drowning on the riverbank – a popular spot for dog-walkers near the Rumney rugby club.

Friends and family paid tribute to Nicola – with one friend writing: ‘Can’t believe what’s happened. I love you so much I will see you again soon.’

Another said: ‘RIP beautiful. Will be missed by loads. We all love you and we always will. You were taken to soon. Heaven has gained another angel.’

A spokesman for South wales Police said: ‘We were called today at 5.20pm to a report of a girl in the river in Ball Lane, Llanrumney.

‘We attended with a number of other emergency services and the police helicopter.

‘At about 6.40pm a 15-year-old girl was located and despite the best efforts of emergency services she sadly passed away.’

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