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Teenager drowns in disused quarry

POLICE have named a teenager who drowned last weekend while swimming in a disused quarry in Derbyshire as Ryan Walker of Holmgate, near Clay Cross.

Witnesses said the 15-year-old was heard calling for help after getting into difficulties in the water at Far Hill Quarry, near Ashover, on Sunday afternoon.

Search teams made up of police and fire crews were alerted at around 3pm and spent several hours at the scene before a specialist police diving team, drafted in from Nottinghamshire, managed to recover the teenager’s body shortly before 9pm.

 

His death comes just days after the Mineral Products Association (MPA) and the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) repeated their seasonal warnings about water safety and the dangers of trespassing in quarries.

According to RoSPA, there is an obvious link between periods of hot weather and an increase in accidental drowning deaths, particularly in inland waters.

‘Each year, there are more accidental drowning deaths in inland waters than in any other type of water and people need to understand the hazards they might encounter in these locations,’ said Peter Cornall, RoSPA’s head of leisure safety. ‘Even on a hot day, the water might be a lot colder than expected and there may be strong currents and underwater debris that cannot be seen from the bank.’

Meanwhile, the MPA’s latest ‘Stay Safe’ campaign has the backing of some of the Premier League’s top goalkeepers. It features a series of posters calling on anyone thinking of entering a quarry to follow the message: ‘Stay safe…stay out’.

The Association says that although the industry has worked hard to deter trespassers by fencing off quarries, erecting warning signs and working with schools and youth groups to educate young people about the hazards, its latest survey of quarry managers showed that nearly 60% of respondents had experienced problems with trespassers over the past 12 months.

Disused quarries, as in the case of this latest tragedy, are said to pose particular safety problems because they are not generally manned.

 

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