Canal and River Trust responds after tragic death of teen in Brighouse waterway

As temperatures soar across the country, Canal & River Trust (Yorkshire & North East) is working with West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service (WYFRS) to help reinforce the importance of staying safe by water this summer

Thursday, 3rd June 2021, 4:16 pm
Updated Thursday, 3rd June 2021, 4:31 pm
Sean McGinley, director of the Canal and River Trust in Yorkshire & North East,

The warning comes after the death of a 13-year-old in the River Calder in Brighouse on June 1.

Enquiries remain ongoing after police and partner agencies were called to reports of a boy in distress in the water in Brighouse.

Police and partner agencies were called to at 2.38pm to reports a child who had been playing with friends had got into difficulties in water at the River Calder.

An urgent search was conducted by specialist fire service colleagues and police. Tragically, the body of a 13-year- boy was recovered.

A spokesperson for the trust said: " This a tragic accident and our thoughts are very much with the family and with everyone affected by this very sad loss.

“On a hot day we understand that people might feel like cooling off in a river, canal or reservoir but we strongly advise people to stay out of the water.

"There are lots of hidden risks that you can’t see - submerged obstacles that can cause injury or you can get tangled in, unknown depth and current, and often the water is a lot colder than you think which can lead to shock.”

The waterways and wellbeing charity which looks after 316 miles of waterways and five reservoirs in the region runs regular campaigns to alert people to the dangers of swimming in inland waterways and this year’s summer water safety message is supported by West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service.

Sean McGinley, director Yorkshire & North East, said: “We want people to relax and enjoy the health benefits of spending time by water. But as the weather warms up, we are also keen to remind people not to swim in our waterways.

“There may be hidden dangers such as unexpected currents and submerged objects which can quickly cause even the strongest swimmer to get in trouble or cause injury.”

The Trust is once again delivering its ‘Explorers’ water safety summer education programme to help thousands of schoolchildren learn how to enjoy their local canal or river safely. The charity is also continuing to work in partnership with emergency services across the region to help keep the community safe through signage and safety measures in hot spot areas.

West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service is supporting the Trust’s campaign, as well as sending out its own messages.

Andy Rose, group manager at WYFRS, said: “Unfortunately, during periods of warm weather we tend to see these figures rise with people entering canals and rivers to cool down and swim.

“As appealing this may seem there are many hidden dangers that have tragically taken lives and I would urge members of the public to think twice before entering due the potential unseen hazards and risks.

“We are committed to protecting the people of West Yorkshire, and are working with other authorities to implement measures now and in the future to continue to keep people safe.”

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