Experts show how to stay alive in water as drowning death toll hits 17

Experts show how to stay alive in the water as heatwave drowning death toll hits SEVENTEEN including boy aged just 13 and at least six other teenagers

  • The RNLI urges swimmers to relax and float on their back if they get into trouble
  • It comes as tributes paid to Jay Moffett, 13, who tragically died in County Down 
  • Charities urging caution nationwide after a string of deaths since the weekend 

Experts are reminding swimmers how to stay alive in the water as the UK’s drowning death toll hits 17 – including a boy aged 13 and at least six other teenagers. 

The RNLI is urging those who choose to take a dip during the hot weather to relax and float on their back if they get into trouble.

Rescuers added that it is in fact often the cold temperature of the water and the sensation of panic which can kill, rather than just simply the depth.

It follows a string of tragedies since the weekend, with a number of charities now encouraging the public to think before entering the water. 

The warning comes as tributes have been paid to Jay Moffett, who got into trouble after entering a lake in the Canal Court area of Scarva, in County Down, Northern Ireland.

His family said they were ‘heartbroken’ by the loss, following the tragedy on Monday, which saw rescue teams desperately try to save the youngster.

Meanwhile, three more deaths have been confirmed, including that of a 55-year-old man in County Fermanagh, while bodies were also pulled from Stanborough Lakes in Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire, and from Ardingly Reservoir in West Sussex.

A statement from Jay’s family said: ‘He was a much loved son, brother, grandson, nephew and cousin who lit up the lives of everyone who knew him in his 13 years.

‘We are grateful for the support we have received at this terrible time and would ask that we now be given the space to grieve in private.’

Tributes have been paid to Jay Moffett, who got into trouble after entering a lake in the Canal Court area of Scarva, in County Down, Northern Ireland

Jay was a pupil Tandragee Junior High School. Principal Wayne Brown said he would be ‘deeply missed’.

In a statement released on behalf of the board of governors, staff and pupils, Mr Brown said: ‘It is with great sadness that we learned of the passing of one of our Year 9 pupils, Jay Moffett.

‘Jay’s death is particularly poignant. He has always been a popular, helpful and very pleasant pupil and will be deeply missed by pupils and staff.

‘Jay was a particularly talented artist, a valued and loyal member of his form class, 9EG, and an exemplary citizen of our school.

‘Jay’s potential was boundless, he enjoyed school and would have no doubt achieved further success upon completion of study at Key Stage Three.’

The statement continued: ‘As a school community we are truly heartbroken and our thoughts, prayers and support are focused on the Moffett family, the extended family circle and Jay’s friends at this extremely sad time.’

The schoolboy was also involved in amateur boxing. Tullylish Amateur Boxing Club offered its condolences to the boy’s family in a Facebook post.

It said: ‘Tullylish ABC are deeply saddened following the tragic and untimely passing of our much loved club member Jay Moffett.

‘All of us at the club pass on our sincerest condolences. Rest easy Jay, we will all miss that big smile.’

Reverend Rodney Magennis of Loughbrickland, Donaghmore and Scarva Church of Ireland, opened St Matthew’s church in Scarva on Monday as a space for people to reflect on the tragedy.

Rev Magennis said: ‘As a church in the heart of Scarva village we are deeply saddened by the tragic death of a 13-year-old boy in a local lake.

‘We offer to his family and friends our prayerful love and support in the days that are to come.

‘It is a tragic event to happen in such a beautiful village and everyone is feeling the shock of it all, so to this end I am opening St. Matthew’s Parish Church of Ireland from 3pm until 6pm for anyone who would like somewhere to go, to sit in the quietness and pray for this family who are going through this dreadful time.’

Floral tributes have been left at the scene close to where the teenager entered the lake.

Upper Bann MP Carla Lockhart said: ‘It is devastating news to hear of another family plunged into sorrow after the death of a young teenage boy at the Canal Court area of Scarva village.

‘Please remember the family in your prayers as they come to terms with this harrowing tragedy.

‘To the emergency services and anyone else who assisted, thank you.’ 

Meanwhile, another 13-year-old boy is fighting for his life after suffering a stroke at a reservoir while swimming in the sunshine

Cain Griffiths had been playing at a Welsh beauty spot when he suddenly collapsed to the floor.

His brave friends shielded him from the the sun with towels while others ran to call for help.

The youngsters had been enjoying a day out at the reservoir near the village of Maerdy in the Rhondda Valleys, South Wales.

Cain underwent surgery in Bristol Royal Hospital for Children for a blood clot on his brain.

His kindhearted community has now raised over £600 to help mum Gemma Caviell and dad Neil Griffiths.

Friend Karen Jones said: ‘Cain was up Maerdy Res at the time and due to the bolders blocking the entrance the ambulance could not get to him.

‘In terms of treating a stroke time is of the essence. There is a four hour window which was missed because of this.

‘Cain could have died up there. Neil literally drove on a quad to get him. The kids who were with him were absolutely fabulous.

‘They put him in the recovery position, they had to run to get signal too cos as anyone who walks there knows there is no signal, they even shielded him with towels from the sun until help arrived.’

Cain was put into an induced coma in hospital but has now woken up.

Mum Gemma said: ‘My little cub is awake! We have a hell of a journey in front of us but he’s here and that’s all that matters right now!

‘Thank you all so much from the bottom of my heart for the love and support.’

Police divers and firefighters spent a second day searching the River Trent in Swarkstone, Derbyshire, but a 16-year-old teenager’s body was tragically found this morning

It comes after Caden Taylor (pictured above), 15, was pronounced dead having failed to surface after jumping into a canal lock with friends on Tuesday afternoon

Following the tragedies, the Royal Life Saving Society UK (RLSS) advised members of the public who aren’t experienced in being in cold, open water to ‘stay out, unless supervised’

Last night, a lifesaving charity warned the public to ‘think before entering the water’ after the body of a teenage boy was pulled from the River Trent.

Police divers and firefighters spent Tuesday night and Wednesday morning searching the river in Swarkstone, Derbyshire, before the 16-year-old was tragically found dead just after 11.30am.

The boy’s family have been made aware and specially trained officers are liaising with them, but formal identification has not yet taken place.

It comes just hours after another teenager, 15, who died after jumping into a canal with friends in West Yorkshire, was named and pictured for the first time.  

Caden Taylor was pronounced dead having failed to surface from the water on Tuesday afternoon – just two months after he lost his mother.

His body was later pulled from the Knottingley and Goole Canal, near its junction with the River Aire, in Knottingley, West Yorkshire, by emergency services following a 90 minute search.

Caden’s mother Rachael passed away unexpectedly in May and his family is now having to deal with the double loss.

His stepfather Nathan, who was married to Rachael, passed away following a long illness in 2019.

Caden, who attended De Lacy Academy, was described as ‘a lovely lad’. 

Following the tragedies, the Royal Life Saving Society UK (RLSS) advised members of the public who aren’t experienced in being in cold, open water to ‘stay out, unless supervised’.

The RNLI further released new figures showing that 54 children and teenagers were saved by its lifeguards last summer, with 64 per cent being aged 12 or under.

The charity said it responded to 3,981 incidents last month – up from 3,536 in June 2020 – and added that its lifeguards came to the aid of 12,344 under-18s overall between June and September last year. 

The last 24 hours has also seen police confirm the death of a man, who has since been named as Hamza Mansoor, after he was swept away while swimming in the sea off the Merseyside coast. 

The RLSS UK tweeted: ‘A weekend of truly tragic fatal drownings, now rising to an expected 11 lives lost. 

‘We are urging the public to please think before entering the water. If you aren’t experienced in being in cold, open water then please stay out, unless supervised.’

Emergency services including the RNLI and Coastguard all scrambled to Crosby beach in Merseyside just after 7pm last night to reports of a group of men in trouble in the water. 

Three of the five men were taken to hospital after the incident, with the other two not needing medical assistance.

Police confirmed that one of the men, Mr Mansoor, has died and a second man is in a critical but stable condition in hospital. 

Sefton Coroners confirmed a file had been passed to them for Mr Mansoor and a man who was on the beach at the time of the accident paid tribute to him.

Arslan Arsi said: ‘I was there as well met poor family as well still in shock. RIP Hamza you fought hard.’

Beachgoer James Pugh, from Crosby, jumped into the water to help the men who were drowning.

A lady on a paddle board, who James described as ‘so brave’, was also in the sea helping the men.

James said he was having his tea on the beach with his girlfriend and his two stepchildren last night when he heard shouting from the water at around 7pm. 

The 38-year-old said: ‘I sprinted down, when I got to the water I noticed lots of splashing from a group of guys but couldn’t hear what they were saying.

‘There was a lady on a paddle board so I walked further out into the water and shouted ‘do they need help?’ and she said ‘yeah they’re drowning’.

‘I was still in my work boots and they sank, so I managed to get them off, then swam as fast as I could to paddle board.’

The sun sets over Crosby Beach in Merseyside on the same evening a man, who has since been named as Hamza Mansoor, drowned after a group of swimmers got into difficulty in the water

Merseyside Police pictured at Crosby Beach after a man drowned last night. Sefton Coroners confirmed a file had been passed to them for Mr Mansoor and a man who was on the beach at the time of the accident paid tribute to him

Two police officers pictured on Crosby Beach on Tuesday evening. Beachgoer James Pugh, from Crosby, jumped into the water to help the men who were drowning

It comes after detectives in Cheshire announced that officers searching for a missing 16-year-old boy in Frodsham found a body in the River Weaver yesterday.

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

And in Devon, it was confirmed that the body of a woman in her 60s was pulled from Axmouth Harbour on Sunday.

Regarding the swimmers in Crosby, a Merseyside Police spokesman said: ‘We can confirm that a man has died and two men were taken to hospital following an incident at Crosby Beach last night, Tuesday 20 July.

‘At around 7.10pm, emergency services attended the beach following reports of three men in their 20s getting into difficulties in the sea. All three men were taken to hospital.

‘One man was sadly pronounced deceased a short time later. A second remains in hospital in a critical but stable condition and a third has been discharged.

‘The deceased man’s family have been made aware and are being supported by officers. 

‘Enquiries continue and anyone who witnessed the incident and has yet to come forward is asked to contact us via @MerPolCC on Twitter, ‘Merseyside Police Contact Centre’ on Facebook, or 101, with reference 21000506040.’

Last night the Coastguard released a statement which read: ‘HM Coastguard received a 999 call from a member of the public just after 7.05pm this evening (July 20) saying that five people were difficulty in the water at Crosby Beach.

‘Crosby Coastguard Rescue Team, lifeboats from New Brighton and Southport, Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service, North West Ambulance Service and Merseyside Police were all sent. All five people were recovered to the beach.

‘Two of the people did not require medical assistance, three were passed into the care of the ambulance service and taken to hospital.’ 

Friends have taken to social media to remember 15-year-old Caden, who died in a canal in West Yorkshire.

Caden’s mother Rachael (pictured with husband Nathan) passed away unexpectedly in May and the 15-year-old’s family is now having to deal with the tragic double loss

Crews were seen this morning searching a river in Derbyshire and the family of the missing 16-year-old were also seen searching frantically along the side of the river

One tribute read: ‘Fly high Caden. Now you are with your mum again. My prayers are with your brothers and sister at this time.’

Meanwhile West Yorkshire Police are appealing for information.

At 5.28pm on Tuesday, police were called to a report of a concern for safety regarding a male in water in Stocking Lane.

Emergency services attended and retrieved the body of a 15-year-old boy. He was sadly pronounced dead at the scene, officers said, with specialists now supporting his family. 

An investigation is ongoing into the circumstances by West Yorkshire Police’s Homicide and Major Enquiry Team, and detectives are keen to hear from anyone who was in the area at around the above time, or who may have information about how the boy ended up in the water.

Detective Chief Inspector Tony Nicholson, said: ‘This has been a tragic incident in which a boy has sadly lost his life and I would like to advise people of the dangers posed by open water.

‘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.

‘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.’

A string of other fatalities have been linked to the weather since the weekend. 

Two teenagers died in water in Greater Manchester and Oxfordshire on Sunday, along with a man in his 50s in North Yorkshire and a man in his 20s in Sheffield.

On Monday, the body of a man was recovered from a lake at Pugneys Country Park in Wakefield, West Yorkshire. 

The day before, a man in his 40s died in front of his family after he slipped and fell while climbing a 200ft cliff in Dorset.

Detectives are investigating after officers were called to Stocking Lane in Knottingley, West Yorkshire, at 5.28pm on Tuesday and recovered the body of the teenager, who was pronounced dead at the scene

The body of a 15-year-old boy was found in a canal in Leeds yesterday, bringing the number of lives lost in water during Britain’s ongoing 90F heatwave to nine, police have announced

Detective Chief Inspector Tony Nicholson said: ‘This has been a tragic incident in which a boy has sadly lost his life and I would like to advise people of the dangers posed by open water.

‘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.

‘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.’

It comes as the RNLI and Coastguard remind families to take care at the coast as school children in England break up this week and join pupils from Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

How to survive the heat 

  • Stay cool indoors – many of us will need to stay safe at home so know how to keep your home cool
  • Close curtains on rooms that face the sun to keep indoor spaces cooler and remember it may be cooler outdoors than indoors 
  • Drink plenty of fluids and avoid excess alcohol
  • Never leave anyone in a closed, parked vehicle, especially infants, young children or animals
  • Try to keep out of the sun between 11am to 3pm
  • Walk in the shade, apply sunscreen and wear a wide brimmed hat, if you have to go out in the heat
  • Avoid exercising in the hottest parts of the day
  • Make sure you take water with you if you are travelling
  • If you are going into open water to cool down, take care and follow local safety advice
  • If you or someone else feels unwell with a high temperature during hot weather, it may be heat exhaustion or heatstroke 

RNLI Water Safety Manager Sam Johnson said: ‘We see a big increase in the number of incidents in the sea involving children and teenagers during the school summer holidays and we would urge everyone – but families in particular – to be aware of the risks and know what to do in an emergency.

‘Our main advice is to visit a lifeguarded beach and swim between the red and yellow flags. RNLI lifeguards will be patrolling around 245 beaches this summer to offer advice on how to stay safe and they are also there to help anyone who gets into trouble.

‘Children should be supervised at all times and people of all ages should avoid swimming alone.

‘We want people to enjoy the coast but urge everyone to respect the water, think about their own safety and know what to do in an emergency.’

Claire Hughes, Director of HM Coastguard, added that the coastal emergency services have been busy so far this summer.

She said: ‘Last year we had our busiest-ever summer on record, with 13,493 incidents from the start of June to the end of August.

‘And, despite the variable weather this June, we responded to 3,981 incidents – up from 3,536 in June 2020 – so we’re expecting it to be another busy season.’

The Met Office says mercury is expected to push 86F across southern England and 77F in Belfast, with temperatures forecast to be cooler in the east. Sun-seekers are warned to beware of sunburn, heat exhaustion, dehydration, nausea, fatigue ‘and other heat-related illnesses’.  

England reached its hottest temperature of the year on Tuesday – 89.96F – recorded at Heathrow Airport in west London. The previous high for the year was 88.88F, which was also recorded at Heathrow on Sunday.

An amber extreme heat warning remains in place for central and southern England, Wales and Northern Ireland. While much of England is set to sizzle on Wednesday, scattered thunderstorms are forecast to return across the country’s east. 

A West Yorkshire Police spokesman said: ‘Police are appealing for information after the body of a teenager was retrieved from the canal in Knottingley. At 5.28pm today (Tuesday), police were called to a report of a concern for safety regarding a male in water in Stocking Lane.

‘Emergency services attended and retrieved the body of a 15-year-old boy. He was sadly pronounced dead at the scene. His family are being supported by specialist officers.

‘An investigation is ongoing into the circumstances by West Yorkshire Police’s Homicide and Major Enquiry Team, and detectives are keen to hear from anyone who was in the area at around the above time, or who may have information about how the boy ended up in the water.’

Anyone with information that could help the investigation is asked to contact police on 101, quoting log reference 1462 of July 20. 

A Met Office graphic shows how high temperatures will again hit parts of the UK between Tuesday and Thursday this week

A graphic from the Met Office showing amber ‘extreme heat’ warnings in parts of the UK on Wednesday and Thursday

Yesterday a drowned swimmer’s body washed up at a Wakefield nature park. On Monday it was announced a 29-year-old man who drowned after ‘accidentally getting out of his depth’ in the surf near Blackpool. 

The RNLI and coastguard launched a frantic five-hour search for the stricken swimmer when he suddenly went under the waves and failed to resurface. It was later confirmed that the victim, from Bolton, had been at the seaside enjoying the warm weather with a group of friends.

A man’s body was recovered from a disused quarry in Dove Holes, Buxton, Derbyshire on Sunday evening. Derbyshire police said they were called to the Victory Quarry at around 7pm last night, following reports that someone had entered the water and ‘found himself in difficulty.’

The force said firefighters and paramedics also attended the scene but ‘despite extensive search and rescue efforts, the man’s body was recovered from the water shortly before 11pm.’  

In a plea for no further tragedies, group manager at the Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service Paul Hawker said: ‘When the weather is hot, we know people are tempted to cool down by swimming and jumping into open water, however no matter how warm the weather is, the water remains cold which can cause the body to go into cold water shock, making it difficult for even the strongest swimmer. 

‘Hidden rocks and debris can also pose a threat as swimmers can easily get tangled and trapped. 

‘Yesterday there were over 200 people at Waterswallows Quarry, not far from Victory Quarry, and no doubt countless others at quarries, reservoirs and rivers across the county. 

‘Despite repeated prevention messages and visits from the emergency services at known risks in the local area advising of the danger of swimming in flooded quarries where depth change can be quite sudden, it really is sad that a man has lost his life in such tragic circumstances.’

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