Four individuals have died from separate drowning incidents in England recently. This has prompted fresh warnings over the dangers of swimming in open water. However, despite these tragedies as well as dozens of warning signs of danger, there are still a significant number of people who continue to swim at Bawsey Pits (the location of some of those drownings) on Wednesday afternoon.
In Bawsey Pits, there were two separate cases of drowning. The first involved a 16-year-old boy from London, while the second involved a 41-year-old man from King’s Lynn. Both of whom died. In Cornwell, a lady died while she was swimming in the sea. The last incident revolved around a man dying after he had faced some difficulties while in a river on the Shropshire/North Wales border. “I don’t swim here but the conditions seem fine. I think people will carry on as normal,” stated Norman Melton, who was visiting Bawsey Pits from Wisbech, Cambridgeshire.
According to the Police, there were still people trying to swim in the lake even when the rescue attempt was under way. “People must heed the warning – you don’t know what you’re going into, you don’t know the currents or what underwater obstacles there are. People were entering the water as we were attempting the recovery so that shows how, on occasions, people ignore the warnings,” said Norfolk Police assistant chief constable Nick Dean.
The man had informed his girlfriend of his intention to swim and venture about 50 yards (45m) out into one of the flooded quarries, which is towards an island. As he was approaching near the shore of the island, he suddenly disappeared below the surface. During that same time, police were also informed of the missing teenager at another nearby lake, approximately half a mile (0.8km) away. The search party started the search at at 4.30pm. At 7.24pm, they recovered the body of the man. Two hours later at 9.25pm, they found the body of the teenager. Norfolk’s chief fire officer Nigel Williams mentioned that both of the bodies were found entangled in reeds about 6ft (2m) below the surface.
“It was an extremely hot day and clearly the temptation to enter the water, despite many warning signs, was too much for some. When we arrived there were people still swimming in the water, oblivious to what was going on. Swimming is banned here and the signs are there for everybody to see. This just highlights the dangers of swimming here or in any other unsupervised area of open water. We don’t know if they were dragged under by some obstacle or other but they were certainly held below the surface by reeds. It is difficult to say how long they could have survived, but we were battling against time and they would only have survived for minutes,” explained Nigel. For more of the story, you can read it here.
At Happy Fish Swim School, we would like to remind all swimmers to take extra precautions when swimming in the open waters. At the same time, we strongly advice against swimming in areas where there are no lifeguards available or on duty.