Water safety warning as summer holidays start

John Woodhall at Gullet Quarry

Gullet Quarry

First published in News
Last updated

AS SCHOOLS break up for the summer holidays a warning has gone out to people about the dangers of swimming in unsupervised waters.

West Midlands Ambulance Service has launched a public safety campaign geared to educating the public unfamiliar with the hazards at disused water-filled sand and gravel quarries and other stretches of uncharted water.

With more than 400 people drowning in the UK each year including nearly 60 children and young people, ambulance bosses are urging adults and children to think about swimming in unsupervised waters this summer.

The ambulance service message ‘Stay Out of the Water’ follows a string of tragedies last summer which saw 17-year-old Russell O'Neill, and 22-year-old Justas Juzenas killed while swimming in Gullet Quarry, near Malvern.

John Woodhall, WMAS Hazardous Area Response Team Support Manager, said: "As schools breaks-up for the summer holidays there are more opportunities to explore the great outdoors.

"We want people to stay safe and be aware that rivers, pools, lakes and disused quarries are not recreation grounds and there are no lifeguards coming to the rescue if you get into difficulty.

“Water-filled quarries claim lives every year through drowning accidents. They have slippery slopes and unstable rock ledges. The water, which looks inviting, may conceal old machinery and sharp objects left behind after a mining operation closes.

"Even expert swimmers will encounter trouble in the dangerous and deceptively cold waters.”

Comments (5)

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12:53pm Mon 21 Jul 14

Hwicce says...

Maybe we should encourage more swimming lessons and even courses for youngsters in open water swimming so they are more able to assess the risks.

Or we could just hide behind a nanny state, ban everything, and wring our hands in woe when an accident happens.
Maybe we should encourage more swimming lessons and even courses for youngsters in open water swimming so they are more able to assess the risks. Or we could just hide behind a nanny state, ban everything, and wring our hands in woe when an accident happens. Hwicce
  • Score: 5

1:20pm Mon 21 Jul 14

alanquattro says...

50 years ago we used to swim in the Severn opposite the cathedral. I don't recall any deaths from drowning just a murder at the toilets in Sidbury.
50 years ago we used to swim in the Severn opposite the cathedral. I don't recall any deaths from drowning just a murder at the toilets in Sidbury. alanquattro
  • Score: 3

2:03pm Mon 21 Jul 14

Mobey says...

You can warn people not to do this. However, the people who swim in places like this are stupid and ignorant. Unfortunately you can't stop people being like this. It's sad two people lost their lives last year. But they made the choice along with the others to ignore the signs and go in.
You can warn people not to do this. However, the people who swim in places like this are stupid and ignorant. Unfortunately you can't stop people being like this. It's sad two people lost their lives last year. But they made the choice along with the others to ignore the signs and go in. Mobey
  • Score: 2

9:03pm Mon 21 Jul 14

bluelotuss says...

Of course I have sympathy for those who lost their lad, I am a mother myself... but... do we ban hang-gliding, riding, rock-climbing, white water rafting, sea swimming? No because life would be absolutely awful if we couldn't choose to take a risk. Yes the quarry is dangerous, because of underwater debris and weeds, because of convection currents... educate people, put notices explaining WHY it is dangerous and to stay out of the deep areas, where cold might suddenly cause muscle paralysis. But.. no to ruining a beauty spot, no to a nanny state and sorry, but no to wardens strutting around telling us what we can and can't do.
Of course I have sympathy for those who lost their lad, I am a mother myself... but... do we ban hang-gliding, riding, rock-climbing, white water rafting, sea swimming? No because life would be absolutely awful if we couldn't choose to take a risk. Yes the quarry is dangerous, because of underwater debris and weeds, because of convection currents... educate people, put notices explaining WHY it is dangerous and to stay out of the deep areas, where cold might suddenly cause muscle paralysis. But.. no to ruining a beauty spot, no to a nanny state and sorry, but no to wardens strutting around telling us what we can and can't do. bluelotuss
  • Score: 2

9:19pm Mon 21 Jul 14

bluelotuss says...

From looking at historic articles, it was never reported exactly what happened, but jumping from the bridge and the rocks is not the same as just swimming in the shallows.
From looking at historic articles, it was never reported exactly what happened, but jumping from the bridge and the rocks is not the same as just swimming in the shallows. bluelotuss
  • Score: 1

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