The body of a strictly Orthodox boy who drowned while swimming in a pond on Wednesday has been recovered by police.
He has not yet been named.
His body was recovered at around 11pm.
A police spokesperson said: “Police were called at 17:33 on Wednesday to reports of a male, believed aged in his late teens, seen in difficulty in the water at Hampstead Ponds.
“Specialist officers from the Marine Policing Unit (MPU) attended and shortly before 23:00hrs the body of a male was recovered from the water.”
Eyewitnesses said the boy had been playing in shallow water in an area not designated for swimming, and was seen calling for help before disappearing under the water.
Emergency teams rushed to the scene, but were unable to locate him. Helicopters were also used in the search.
Six fire crews with around 30 firefighters were also called. Local station manager Sam Kazmanli, who was at the scene, said: “Firefighters used three boats on the pond and carried out a methodical search.”
Witness Miriam Orlander said: “Someone told the family off for swimming where they shouldn’t. It was right at the other end from where the lifeguard would have been, so by the time he was struggling, it would’ve already been too late.
“One woman said she heard the boys shouting for help, but only realised afterwards because at the time she couldn’t understand what they were saying. The emergency services arrived very quickly, but you can’t make miracles. It’s just a tragedy.”
A London Ambulance Service spokeswoman said that paramedics and a specialist response team had been sent to the scene and arrived within eight minutes.
The incident happened at around 5.30pm.