Warning after youths spotted river swimming

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Young swimmers are being warned to stay out of the water after being spotted playing in the river and canal in Castleford.

The recent hot spell has led some youths to cool off in the waterways around Lock Lane, but police say they are simply taking their lives in their hands.

A West Yorkshire Police spokesman said: “Around 85 per cent of accidental drownings occur at open water sites.

“Many of these drownings occur due to a lack of knowledge and understanding of open water safety.

“Please can we ask that you reiterate this message to your children to prevent them from becoming another one of these statistics.”

The shock of entering cold water, despite air temperatures recently topping 30c, is enough to lead even the strongest swimmer into difficulties. Other dangers can include unpredictable changes in depth, uneven bank sides, strong currents that can carry people away and submerged objects that can be a hazard and cause injury.

Some can be injured by ‘tombstoning’ - jumping from heights - and even the water can ctoxic algae or industrial and agricultural pollution that can cause illness.

Only last week a 17-year-old from Leeds drowned after getting into difficulty swimming in the River Aire.

Rescue teams worked into the night and a police helicopter was scrambled in a desperate bid to find the missing boy.

Eventually they found his body in the early hours of Wednesday, June 27.

There have been several people drown in the district in recent years , the most recent in Horbury Lagoon last year when a 32-year-old man died.

At his inquest, now-retired Wakefield Coroner David Hincliffe said: “If people have a desire to swim they should go to a swimming pool.

“The water is extremely dangerous, although it must look pleasant on a summer’s afternoon.”