LIFESAVING equipment placed by the riverside after the death of student Tom Jones has gone missing.

The emergency rescue pole has been taken from the Portsafe station near the swan sanctuary along the River Severn in Worcester.

It is a long pole with a buoyancy aid and hook at the end to help pull people to shore if they get in difficulties in the water.

Rescue charities are unsure where the pole has gone but said if it had been used for a genuine emergency it should have been returned.

The first station was set up near Sabrina Bridge in memory of student Tom Jones who tragically passed away in September 2018 after falling into the river while walking home after a night out.


Following this, the South Worcestershire Cadet Sponsored Board was bought to compliment the Tom Jones Board.

Lee Heard, charity director for the Royal Life Saving Society UK, said: "It’s always a real concern to hear about lifesaving equipment being rendered un-usable.

"Equipment like this at the water’s edge is installed to save lives, without prejudice, and help everyone enjoy water safely.

"It’s impossible to tell when it might be needed to save a life, or whose life it might save and we urge the public to learn how to use them and what to do, should an emergency arise.”

Portsafes have a long-reach telescopic rescue pole and emergency throwline which are released by using a code given to people when they call emergency services.

Worcester News:

David Harford noticed the pole had gone missing when he walked by the river at the weekend.

He said: "The reach and rescue pole is a valuable piece of lifesaving equipment.

"It’s a brilliant tool and removes the risk of a potential rescuer entering the water to perform a rescue when they can stand from the safety of the bank and not put themselves in danger.

"River conditions can be dangerous and unpredictable to the untrained eye.

"Cold shock is a killer and something many people don’t know about.

"Cold water shock causes the blood vessels to close, which reduces the blood flow. The persons heart rate is also increase.

"As a result the heart has to work harder and your blood pressure goes up. Cold water shock can therefore cause heart attacks, even in the relatively young and healthy.

"Breathing rates change, sometimes increasing as much as tenfold.

"These responses lead to a feeling of panic, increasing the chance of inhaling water directly into the lungs.

"The very fact it’s missing is a concern and could put lives at risk and needs to be reinstated ASAP."

Andy Macauley from West Mercia Search and Rescue appealed for the missing pole to be returned.

He said that had it been used in an emergency it should have been returned to the board.

"These poles and water side throwlines offer a life-saving way for the public to help if they see someone struggling in the water.

"Our Home & Dry water-safety course - which is free and supported by Police and Fire - teaches how important it is to Shout, Reach and Throw to help save someone.

"Shouting to get their attention, and using a reach pole, branch or something long to help them out is an internationally recognised rescue technique.

"In fact, it forms the basis for professional rescue team techniques too.

"We'd appeal for anyone who sees the missing pole to report it to the Fire Service to recover and replace."