Urgent warning after hundreds spotted swimming in reservoirs in Yorkshire following deaths

Yorkshire Water has issued an urgent warning about the risks of swimming in open water, after spotting hundreds of people swimming in its reservoirs.

Thursday, 22nd July 2021, 2:42 pm

The water company said it had recorded 762 people entering the water at its reservoirs this week, with many seeking to cool off during the hottest days of the year so far.

The numbers were recorded at just 14 of the company's 130 reservoirs in seven days.

Staff are now reminding people about the dangers of swimming in open water, following multiple deaths across Yorkshire.

Yorkshire Water has issued an urgent warning about the risks of swimming in open water, after spotting hundreds of people swimming in its reservoirs. Stock image. Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images for IRONMAN
Yorkshire Water has issued an urgent warning about the risks of swimming in open water, after spotting hundreds of people swimming in its reservoirs. Stock image. Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images for IRONMAN

Gaynor Craigie, head of land and property at Yorkshire Water said: “The last week has tragically seen four people lose their lives in open water in our region, following on from a further four fatalities earlier in the year.

“Our sites have seen a dramatic increase in people swimming, particularly during the recent warm weather, with our teams speaking to almost 800 people intending to swim at just a handful of our sites, including young unaccompanied children.

"We know the true number of people entering reservoirs across the region will be much greater and we would urge people not to take risks by getting into the water for any reason.

“There are several risks associated with open water at reservoirs, which are often underestimated, and pose a potential risk to life. These include cold water shock, unseen objects, the hazards of operational machinery and the underwater currents they cause.

"We would urge people not to underestimate these dangers and to speak to their children about the risks of entering open water.”

As well as deaths in York and Sheffield, emergency services in Wakefield have been rushed to the scene of several emergencies.

Specialist search and rescue teams were called to Pugneys Country Park over the weekend, where a body was recovered on Monday afternoon.

And tributes have been paid to a 15-year-old in Knottingley, whose body was recovered from the town's canal earlier this week.

Wakefield Council has repeated warnings about the risks of swimming in open water, including lakes and rivers, during the heat, and urged people to stay safe.

There was also criticism after yobs were spotted throwing life rings into the water at Horbury Lagoon.