Bannau Brycheiniog: Man died at waterfalls helping family to safety

The family of a man who died at a waterfall said he was helping them to safety when he died.

Mohananeethan Muruganantharajah, known as Mohan, was rescuing his two nieces at the Sgwd y Pannwr waterfall in mid-Wales when he was dragged under.

The 27-year-old was at Ystradfellte in Bannau Brycheiniog, or the Brecon Beacons, on Friday while on holiday with relatives when tragedy struck.

Despite a major rescue operation, his body wasn't recovered until Saturday.

Now his niece Vaishnavi Senthurkumaran is now calling for clearer signage after her uncle's death.

She said Mr Muruganantharajah "escorted everyone down to the water one by one" so they could have a swim, adding there were "at least five other people already in the water".

"One of my sisters didn't feel safe in the water and everyone came over to help her," Ms Senthurkumaran said.

"At that moment the current was pulling us in towards the waterfall. My uncle came in to pull us out one by one."

After getting everyone out of the water Ms Senthurkumaran said Mr Muruganantharajah got stuck.

She said: "I could see his hands slipping into the water. We thought he was doing some sort of trick like he does in the sea, going underwater and grabbing our legs."

When Mr Muruganantharajah, who ran an off-licence in Swansea, didn't resurface, Ms Senthurkumaran said she ran up the slope to get phone signal to call for help while her mother tried to save her uncle.

"My mother can't swim so she was throwing anything she could find into the water," Ms Senthurkumaran said.

"There were a few doctors in the area who tried to help where they could, then the paramedics turned up.

"People were trying to get us back to our cars but it felt wrong to leave because my uncle, although he's the youngest brother, is always there for people."

Mr Muruganantharajah moved from Sri Lanka as a child, leaving his mother there.

His family said his dream was to "buy his own plane and fly us all around" and return to live with his mother in Sri Lanka when they could.

"My mum relied on him as did our other relatives," said Ms Senthurkumaran.

"He was young but we all went to him for advice. He was more of a brother figure to everyone."

He died rescuing his family from the water
Mohananeethan Muruganantharajah died rescuing his family from the water

Dyfed-Powys Police said officers, firefighters, mountain rescue, a rescue helicopter and an air ambulance were called to the scene in Powys at 16:45 BST on Friday.

They said conditions meant his body could not be recovered until Saturday morning, when specialist divers were brought in to help.

Mr Muruganantharajah's family said they now want better signage in the area.

Ms Senthurkumaran said: "There was a sign but they were for general reminders of possible dangers.

"I want a sign to be there to remind people that people have died, that you're risking your life by going in the water."

She said the site was reopened the day Mr Muruganantharajah's body was recovered.

"When his friends were putting down flowers for him there were people swimming in that same water," she said.

"I know it's a tourist attraction but it's not worth putting lives on the line like that."

Central Beacons Mountain Rescue Team said: "We extend our deepest sympathies to members of the family, some of whom witnessed the tragedy as it unfolded and those who joined us on the Saturday morning."

Natural Resources Wales said it was "saddened" by the death.

"As a responsible land manager for this area, we will wait until the full details of how and where this this tragic event are established before taking any appropriate action," a spokesman said.

"We encourage people to take extra care before entering open water and take notice of any warning signs."