The boy who died when a sand tunnel collapsed on him was today described by his headteacher as a model pupil and outstanding young man.
Rob Ratcliffe, headteacher at Bryn Alyn School in Wrexham, said Craig Owen, 16, was expecting top grades in his GCSEs this month and his death had stunned the school community.
Mr Ratcliffe, whose own son recently died, said: “Craig Owen was an outstanding young man.
“He was bright, funny, considerate and had a wide circle of friends.
“Losing a student is the worst thing that could happen to a school community and everyone is stunned.
“Craig was one of the very few students to be given an A grade for effort in every subject, his GCSE results are due out on August 21 and we are expecting top grades in all subjects.
“It is a real tragedy and having recently lost a son of my own I feel so much for Craig’s parents and his family.
“Any support myself or the school can offer is available to the family and the many young people who will be so devastated.”
The young holidaymaker was pronounced dead on Sunday night after he was trapped under 5ft of sand at Cefn Sidan beach, near Burry Port, west Wales.
His devastated parents watched on in horror as rescuers battled to free him.
The lad had been among a group of youngsters who had dug two deep holes connected by a tunnel in the dunes.
His friends had uncovered his head from the sand by the time a Coastguard rescue team arrived at about 7pm.
John Jones, station manager at Burry Port Coastguard, said yesterday: “The whole family were around, everyone was shouting.
“The family were shouting at him to help himself, believing that he was conscious and able to help us.”
Working in a confined trench, Mr Jones and his colleagues were able to uncover the teenager’s chest to allow paramedics to give him oxygen within minutes.
It took another 15 to 20 minutes to uncover the rest of his body, by which time “there was no sign of life”.
“There must have been two tonnes of sand on top of him.”
Mr Jones said the tunnel was about the length of a car and a girl among the group of youngsters told him she had been able to walk through it upright.
Floral tributes were left at the beach and its blue flag flew at half-mast.
An inquest into Craig’s death was opened and adjourned in Swansea and this afternoon two men at the family home in Brymbo, Wrexham, declined to comment and asked to be left alone to grieve in private.