Warning over drowning at reservoir

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A near drowning at a Chorley reservoir has seen United Utilities warn teenagers to stay out of the water this summer.

With temperatures soaring and the school holidays approaching, the water company is concerned that thrill seekers could continue to flout warning signs around reservoirs, and place their lives at risk by swimming in the treacherous waters.

The company’s message comes on the back of a ‘near miss’ on Sunday night (July 3) at Rivington reservoir, near Anderton New Road, Chorley.

A teenager had to be rescued after he ventured onto the water in an inflatable dinghy. The dinghy sank, leaving the teenager floundering in the icy water.

He eventually managed to clamber aboard a boat owned by the Sea Cadets, which is permanently moored on the reservoir, before being rescued by firefighters who attended from Preston, Darwen and Chorley. He was taken to Chorley hospital for checks.

The drama happened on the same day that teenager Dylan Ramsay tragically died at Hill Top Quarry near Chorley, after he went swimming with a friend. Although the Quarry is not a United Utilities site, water and fire bosses are concerned by the parallels between the two incidents.

Neville Kidd, United Utilities’ catchment manager at Rivington said: “Reservoirs can seem inviting, particularlry on hot days, but cooling off in them can be deadly.

“The water is so cold, even in summer, that people’s bodies can quickly shut down, and even the strongest swimmers can find themselves in difficulty. Hidden currents and ledges can make it extremely hard to get out.

“Our message is simple: please, please never swim in a reservoir. Don’t place your life at risk.”

Peter Holland, Chief Fire Officer for Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service said: “Within hours of the tragic death by downing of 13 year-old Dylan Ramsay on Sunday, a second incident attended by our firefighters unfolded in which another teenager got into difficulties in the water, but fortunately was rescued and survived.

“Water safety carries simple messages that too often go unheeded. It is profoundly sad to have to repeat the warnings in the aftermath of a tragedy, but it is unfortunately a fact that at such times they are likely to have the biggest impact and bear repetition to save a life.”