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Fire Service issues water safety advice following incident on the river

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Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue Service (HWFRS) is issuing water safety advice following an incident on the river in Ross-on-Wye yesterday evening (20 June).

Five teenage girls were swimming in the river and came into difficulties as they reached faster flowing water near the rowing club.

Station Commander Neil Lilwall said: "A group of teenage girls had a lucky escape yesterday after getting into difficulty in the water. Luckily, members of the rowing club saw that they were in distress and rescued them using their boat."

He continued: "I am in no doubt, that if they hadn't have rescued the girls, they would have become very tired further down river and potentially drowned."

Station Commander Stuart Crebbin from the Community Risk Department said: "Although the water might be inviting, it can also be very dangerous. Many people don't understand that even strong swimmers can find themselves in difficulty."

He continued: "We get called to many water-related incidents, particularly when the weather begins to get warmer and more people are tempted to take a dip to cool off. Sadly, there have been cases where people have lost their lives in these circumstances. We encourage people to think twice before entering open water and recognise the dangers involved."

HWFRS urge people to take note of the following water safety advice:

  • Avoid swimming in rivers, lakes, quarries and canals. The water can be cold enough to cause difficulty for even the most experienced swimmers and there may be hidden depths or currents, or debris under the water that could cause injury or infection.
  • Never dive or jump from bridges. You can never be sure how deep the water is, and you could easily suffer serious injury.
  • Take care near river banks, which can be slippery. Keep away from the river's edge and closely supervise young children at all times.
  • Never swim under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  • Stay together near water so that if one person should get into difficulty, there is still someone who can call for help.
  • Take notice of warning signs, safety information or flags near the water's edge.
  • Be aware that there may be strong currents, even where the surface of the water appears calm.

For further information on water safety, please visit www.hwfire.org.uk information or www.drowningpreventionweek.org.uk