By Cam Lucadou-Wells
A missing Narre Warren man who was swept away in a rip while swimming near Portsea has been described as the best of friends.
Khalil Nabizadah, 23, and two friends were stricken in the surf at the notoriously dangerous and unpatrolled London Bridge beach about 5.30pm on 4 February.
Khalil disappeared from the sight of his mates and nearby surfers who came to the trio’s aid.
A large-scale search operation by Victoria Police, SES and Life Saving Victoria found remains on 7 February, after exhaustively searching the waters, reef and shoreline for several days.
The identity of the remains had not been confirmed as Star News went to print.
Police divers, its air wing, search-and-rescue and water units have been part of the four-day search.
Family and friends had joined the search and kept a mournful vigil in the coastal dunes.
Aki, a long-time friend of Khalil, told of how they met at an English language school in Sydney soon after they arrived from Afghanistan in 2006.
Khalil’s academic talent shone bright, rapidly mastering English and attaining a 97.5 ATAR score at Dandenong High School.
He kicked on to university, studying for an engineering degree.
The keen soccer player loved going to the gym. He had played in an Afghan soccer tournament in Brisbane this summer.
“You can’t have a better friend,” Aki said.
While Khalil disappeared, his other friends were saved.
A 22-year-old Cranbourne West man, was hospitalised, a 23-year-old Cranbourne man safely escaped the surf.
Victoria’s summer has been blighted by 19 drownings, with Life Saving Victoria issuing regular warnings on the dangers of ocean rips.