Brothers Pay Tribute To Warwick Student Who Died Kayaking In New Zealand

27 September 2015, 10:11 | Updated: 29 November 2015, 14:56

The younger brothers of a Warwick University student who lost his life kayaking in New Zealand have paid tribute to him on Facebook saying "he was always smiling."

The University's vice chancellor has also said his "thoughts are with the family and friends" of James Murphy and he's "grateful for the support and assistance being offered" to his family.

The 20 year-old was on an exchange with Monash University in Australia and had gone to New Zealand for his half-term break.

He died after his vessel was struck by strong winds and swamped on Lake Tekapo thrusting him into the cold water.

A 21 year-old New York college student Daniel Hollnsteiner also died.

New Zealand Police have said it was "very very lucky" that all 11 students on the water didn't also lose their lives.

On Facebook Patrick Murphy wrote a message from himself and James' other brother Michael: "Never thought I'd ever have to write this."

"Many of you may know that my big brother and best friend James Murphy has passed away in a tragic accident.

"He is and forever will be a massive inspiration to me and many other people.

"He was the nicest and genuinely one of the best guys out there.

"You have given me and so many others such amazing memories, you always had a smile on your face and wouldn't rest until everyone around you was smiling.

"I'll miss you more than anything bro!"

Warwick University, vice-chancellor Professor Sir Nigel Thrift said: "Our thoughts are with the family and friends of all the students involved in this accident.

"We are immensely grateful for the support and assistance being offered to the students and their families by our colleagues in Monash University."

A New Zealand police spokesman said the group: "Ran into difficulty after venturing out on the lake and being swamped after an easterly wind picked up to an estimated 20 knots."

Emergency teams from Lake Tekapo, voluntary firemen and the McKenzie Lake Coast Guard, assisted by a helicopter, went to the scene where they recovered the two bodies.

"All survivors were suffering from hypothermia and a small number required hospitalisation at Timaru Hospital.

"An investigation will take place, looking at the reasons this tragedy occurred."