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Teenage boy found dead in river as police warn about dangers of open water swimming

Written by on 23/07/2021

A teenage boy has died after he disappeared while swimming in the River Dee in Chester.

Warnings about the dangers of open water have been issued by charities and the police this week as temperatures soared around the UK.

The 16-year-old was reported missing at around 2.30pm on Thursday.

Extensive searches of the river took place throughout the afternoon and into the evening, with a body found shortly before 8pm.

Formal identification has not yet taken place, but it is believed to be that of the missing boy.

The teenager’s family has been informed and are being supported by specially trained officers.

Superintendent Myra Ball said: “Sadly this is the second river death that we have seen this week in the county. This appears to be another tragic accident and our thoughts are with the boy’s family at this very difficult time.”

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On Tuesday, another teenage boy, aged 15, was pronounced dead after being pulled from a canal in West Yorkshire.

Local police are investigating the incident, with Detective Chief Inspector Tony Nicholson warning: “Even on days as hot as we have had recently, canals can still be very cold and cold water can cause cramps in even the strongest swimmers.

People enjoy the weather on Bournemouth beach in Dorset
Image: People enjoy the weather on Bournemouth beach in Dorset

“Currents created by boats and water movements around locks and weirs can also be dangerous. There may also be items lurking beneath the surface that could cause injury.”

The Royal Life Saving Society UK (RLSS UK) said it was aware of 17 incidents of accidental loss of life in the water between 17 and 20 July, and urged swimmers to take care.

All of the incidents had occurred in England, apart from one in Northern Ireland.

RLSS UK charity director Lee Heard said: “Whilst we recognise how tempting it is to cool off in the UK’s beautiful waterways, they hide hazards that tragically take lives each year and we urge the public to use caution when entering the water, getting acclimatised to the water temperature before jumping in.

“The difference between the air temperature and water temperature can literally take your breath away; this is called cold water shock. It is silent, invisible and deadly.”

Despite rising temperatures this week, the weekend looks set to be cooler with a yellow warning for rain in place for parts of England.

 Sky News

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