Deadly perils of swimming in open water

Miracle Godson
Miracle Godson

With temperatures soaring this half term young people are being urged not to be tempted to cool off in a reservoir or any other stretches of open water.

The tragic death of a Wigan teenager last year and a campaign to have drowning prevention taught in school by the mother of another local youngster who died in a water-filled quarry 17 years ago were brought to mind as United Utilities launched its warm weather warning.

Sudden drops, hidden machinery, unpredictable currents and freezing, muscle-numbing water make reservoirs potentially fatal for those who ignore the warning signs.

UU has more than 180 reservoirs around the North West, many surrounded by public access land.

Its health and safety director Mark Byard said: “We’re looking forward to welcoming thousands of visitors to our reservoir sites over the next few days. We just ask that people please stay out of the water. The last thing we want is for a fun day out to turn into a tragedy.

“While teenagers are statistically the most likely to put themselves in harm’s way, we’ve seen adults and even parents with young children taking the plunge, not realising just how much danger they are in.”

Ann Croston from Platt Bridge has been backing a campaign to drowning prevention to be taught at an age appropriate level on the national curriculum. Her 17-year-old son Craig drowned at East Quarry, Appley Bridge, in 1999.

And last year Marsh Green 13-year-old Miracle Godson died at the same water-filled site.

At his inquest coroner Sian Jones said: “This must act as a warning as youngsters think they are immune and not aware of the shock of the cold. If they saw the distress of families, they may think twice. I can only encourage parents to teach their children to swim as that life skill in invaluable.”