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River safety warning in Ovingham

04 Jul 2016 14:09 PM

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Police are warning people to be careful around rivers after two incidents in Ovingham.

At 11:43am on Sunday, July 3, police received a report from the ambulance service that had a man had almost drowned after going into the river at Ovingham Bridge.

The man had gone into the water to swim and had been swept under by the current. His friend was able to pull him from the water and the man was taken to Cramlington hospital to be checked over.

At 1:43pm the same day officers also got a report of children climbing on the scaffolding underneath the Ovingham bridge. Police attended and moved the children on from the area explaining the danger they were putting themselves in.

Officers are warning people to be careful around rivers and any open water over the summer months.

East Tynedale Acting Neighbourhood Inspector Mick Aspey said: "With the summer holidays almost upon us we would like to remind people to stay safe around the water. Rivers and open water can often prove treacherous and there is no real way of knowing the depth of the water or the strength of the current.

"The water can be particularly cold, even on hot days, and this can have dramatic effects on the body that could lead to drowning.

"People under the influence of alcohol will also have their judgement and physical abilities impaired and they could easily get into difficulties resulting in tragic consequences.

"The public should be cautious in unfamiliar stretches of water and encourage their friends to do the same. I'd also ask parents to remind their children of the dangers of open water."

Anyone who sees anyone in trouble in the water should dial 999 immediately and police offer the following advice:

- TALK to the casualty. They may be able to help themselves out of the situation by standing and walking out of the water. Talking to them can also calm the situation through reassurance.

- THROW a line or rope to the casualty and/or a lifebelt or other floating object to assist buoyancy.

- REACH for the casualty using a pole, branch or similar object if they are closer to land.

- ROW if a boat or vessel of some description is available then use it try and get closer to the casualty, if it is safe to do so, rather than entering the water yourselves. If possible tether the vessel to the shore so those on dry land can assist you with the recovery of the casualty.

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