By KLTV Newsdesk –
West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service (WYFRS) has released statistics showing that 46 people have lost their lives in waterways in West Yorkshire over the past ten years, with the most recent fatality occurring just last week.
The data reveals that there have been multiple deaths in the county’s rivers and canals since April 2013.
Following the tragic incident of a 14-year-old boy drowning in a Leeds canal over the weekend, WYFRS officers are urging the public to call 999 and ask for the fire service if anyone is in danger of drowning on any inland waterway.
George Lund drowned in the River Aire near George Mann Road in Hunslet, beaten by the current as he tried to swim to a ladder at the side of the river.
Leeds District Commander Toby May from WYFRS has issued a warning to the public about the dangers of entering waterways in warmer weather.
“Entering such water can put people’s lives at risk due to cold water shock, which can impact even competent swimmers, as well as underwater debris and dangerous currents,” May said.
“Regrettably, this weekend, we have seen the devastating consequences of entering water at inappropriate locations, where these waterways are such dangerous places to swim.”
WYFRS urges parents and teachers to talk to children about water safety and the importance of keeping a safe distance from lakes, rivers, and canals.
Be Water Aware
May also emphasized the importance of calling 999 immediately and asking for the fire service if anyone needs assistance in inland water.
“Our teams are experts at water rescues, and we have the specialist equipment needed to save the lives of people who are at risk of drowning,” he added.
“Please enjoy the warm weather, but in a safe way and please Be Water Aware.”
Additionally, those who plan to spend time near water should watch out for slippery banks, underwater debris, pollution, strong currents, cold temperatures, and water levels that can change rapidly.
Swimming outside purpose-built swimming pools where lifeguards are present can be dangerous, as there may be no one there to help if things go wrong.