• Family and friends gather at a last year's memorial service for the two boys. (AAP)Source: AAP
The teenagers’ deaths have caused widespread grief in Western Australia’s Indigenous community.
Rangi Hirini

17 Sep 2018 - 4:26 PM  UPDATED 17 Sep 2018 - 4:26 PM

Some of the biggest Aboriginal families in Western Australia gathered on banks of Perth’s Swan River over the weekend to pay their respects to Trisjack Simpson and Chris Drage.

The two 17-year-old boys drowned on September 10 after diving into the river in an attempt to evade police.

They were part of a group of five teenagers being chased on foot following reports they were jumping fences.

The incident, which will be investigated by the state coroner, has been treated by authorities as deaths in police presence.

The survivors were not charged with any offences. 

Following a traditional smoking ceremony, Trisjack’s grandfather James Spratt told the 400-strong crowd on Saturday the boys should not have died the way they did.

“There will come a time for us to get the answers to our questions but we come together today not as a protest or a rally but to remember our boys,” Mr Spat said.

“Today is our time to let these two young men go and to show they have not died in vain and they will always be remember and cherished.” 

He also claimed the three surviving boys watched their two friends die.

“No worldly punishment will matter to these boys as they will be punished forever for what they saw in the river that day,” he said.

With their arms around one another, grieving family members placed flower wreaths in the water.

Indigenous rights activist Mervyn Eades said deaths of the two boys were painful for the community.

“When something like this happens to one of us, it happens to all of us,” he said.

“It could have been anyone’s children.”

“This is a tragedy and it is so sad, so sad that this sort of stuff is still happening today in our society with our young ones.”