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Warning from Rescue Services after river rescue

1st September 2009

Two boys had a lucky escape last week when they had to be rescued from a well known beauty spot. The youngsters were playing at The Falls, Richmond when they became stranded on a rock in the middle of the river.

Due to the recent heavy rainfall, the river water had risen suddenly, and the boys found themselves in difficulty and unable to reach the shore. Fortunately, the boy’s plight was noticed by a passer by, and the Fire and Rescue Service were called. The specialist Swift Water Rescue Team from Richmond and crews from Richmond, Leyburn and Colburn were quickly on scene. Crews worked for over thirty minutes to rescue the boys, who were brought safely back to shore.

Fire and Rescue Group Manager Carl Boasman said:”Thankfully, on this occasion the youngsters were rescued from the river in time using the skills of the Richmond Swift Water Team. Had the boys been unable to raise the alarm, the outcome could have been quite different.” He continues:”Rivers and waterways may seem relatively safe, especially during good weather, but this incident shows how quickly the situation can change. We are urging people to recognise the dangers associated with open water, and make sure that children are supervised carefully at all times. Rivers can rise quickly, and people may unwittingly find themselves in life threatening situations.”

The two local boys aged thirteen were taken into the care of the Ambulance Service and were treated for shock, but were otherwise unharmed.

Each year, over 350 people die as a result of drowning in the UK. Since April 2007, NYFRS has rescued over 40 people from water and urges people to follow these simple tips to stay safe:

  • Do not drink alcohol before entering water. Drinking alcohol puts bathers at risk because of loss of coordination and slower reaction times.
  • Do not eat just before entering water, as you are more susceptible to muscle cramps.
  • Be aware that, even during hot summer months, the temperature in open water is dangerously low. Even the strongest swimmers can find themselves in difficulty when the body suffers loss of strength and muscle coordination in cold water.
  • Be aware of life-threatening hazards in water such as rocks, unseen vegetation and discarded rubbish and never jump in.
  • Take care even in shallow water. Just 15cm of flowing water can knock a person of their feet.
  • Pay attention to warning signs – they are there for your protection.
  • If you see anyone in the water, do not jump in to try and save them. Call 999, shout for help and reach, throw or row to help, if it is safe to do so.
  • NYFRS always recommend that people who wish to swim visit an appropriate facility such as their local swimming pool.

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