19th July, 2011
Tributes have been paid to a London student who drowned in an Amazon lake while working as a missionary.
Olakunle Teniola, 20, of Hackney, disappeared after jumping into the lake with a friend in Manaus, Brazil, after their boat stopped so they could have a swim.
Friends spoke of their shock at the loss of â€œa truly special personâ€ who had been â€œan inspirationâ€.
A friend said: â€œHis family are totally devastated. They cannot believe such a happy, inspirational guy has gone.
He was so excited to be heading out to Brazil on missionary work. He was devoted to helping people – a truly special person.â€
News of Mr Teniolaâ€™s death came just before his 21st birthday. His immediate family were too upset to speak.
Mr. Teniola, who called himself â€œGospelzâ€ on Facebook and other social networking sites, was in his second year of a BA in youth work at Coventry University.
His tutor, Brian Goredema-Braid, called him a very popular student. Friend Melody Peters said on Twitter: â€œHe left a legacy and itâ€™s up to all of us to continue it.â€
It is believed Mr Teniola, who grew up on a Hackney council estate, could not swim. He was with Ray of Hope, a group that works with underprivileged Amazon communities.