• A police boat searching the Swan River on Tuesday. (AAP)Source: AAP
The Perth community is reeling after two Aboriginal teenagers lost their lives in strong currents while trying to evade police on Monday.
Rangi Hirini

12 Sep 2018 - 12:23 PM  UPDATED 13 Sep 2018 - 6:33 AM

The grandfather of one of the two Aboriginal teenagers who drowned in Perth's Swan River while being pursued by police on Monday afternoon says his grandson's life was cut short.

Trisjack Simpson and Christopher Drage drowned as they swam away from police officers in below 11-degree temperatures. The deaths are being treated as deaths in police presence.

James Spratt, the grandfather of Trisjack, visited the Maylands foreshore near where his grandson lost his life on Tuesday.

“My grandson had the world at his feet,” he told NITV News.

“He made a mistake here and it cost him his life.” 

Mr Spratt says he was at work when he heard the news that his grandson was one of the two boys who drowned.

“They were good young boys, I just want people to understand that we all make mistakes,” he said.

“The boys had the world at their feet, and they didn’t have a chance to grow old. When we grow older that’s when we learn by our mistakes… These young boys paid for this situation with their lives,” the grandfather said.

News broke on Monday night that a police operation was underway in the Swan River.

WA Police said residents had reported a group of teens had been jumping fences in Maylands, and officers pursued five teenagers on foot. Four teenagers ran into the Swan River.

Speaking to the media on Tuesday, WA Police Commissioner Chris Dawson said it is "nothing short of a tragedy".

"Two boys are believed to have got into difficulties in the middle of the river and succumbed to the conditions and were not seen to resurface," he said.

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The bodies of the two boys were recovered Monday night and Tuesday morning.

Community member and well-known Aboriginal activist, Herbert Bropho told local media the police were in the wrong.

“They didn’t make it home to their parents and families, I put the West Australian police accountable for the deaths of these two young people.” 

However, the family for one of the boys says they are not sure what to think yet.

“At the moment, I really don’t know the full set of circumstances of what’s happened, I’ve just read bits here and there, my opinion, I don’t have one at the moment,” Mr Spratt said.

“In the next couple of days, when things come out and we get to know exactly what happened, I’m not quite sure how I’m gonna feel.”

National Indigenous Critical Response Service is supporting the Simpson family.

"It's a harrowing, staggering, loss of their loved one, and they're soaked in grief," National Coordinator Gerry Georgatos said.

The families have given permission for the media to name and show images of the boys who lost their lives.

Two Aboriginal teens drown in inner city police chase
The teenagers ran into Perth's Swan River while being chased by police.