Appeal made to prevent potential Dorney Lake tragedy

Appeal made to prevent potential Dorney Lake tragedy

Reporter:

Michael Owens

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Appeal made to prevent potential Dorney Lake tragedy

An appeal has been made to prevent a potential tragedy for youngsters swimming in Dorney Lake.

Dorney Lake managing director Ivor Lloyd has warned of the dangers of swimming at the popular venue

The venue's managing director, Ivor Lloyd, said its main concern is to protect visitors by stopping them from jumping into the water and risking death or serious injury.

Entry to the 2012 Olympic rowing canoeing venue is free but swimming is not permitted other than as part of an organised event.

However, it is visited daily by children looking to enjoying the water in the summer heat.

"The main thing for us is the possibility that someone is going to badly hurt themselves," he said

"It's the usual thing, the youngsters are about 12-13 years old and they don't really understand the danger of water courses.

“We need to raise awareness.”

Mr Lloyd said it was especially important to enforce the message in light of the recent death of a teenager in water close to home.

Kyrece Francis died in July

Kyrece Francis, 13, had reportedly been enjoying the warm weather with friends but got into difficulties in the River Thames and drowned on Tuesday, July 22.

Dorney Lake carries the added risk of thrill-seekers hitting the bottom of the lake if they are diving in from the bank or pontoons.

"The real danger is that someone will go off and hit the bottom," added Mr Lloyd.

"They're going to break their back or their neck if they don't outright kill themselves."

Furthermore, he said hitting hidden buoy lines in the water could cause horrific injuries to divers and swimmers and even 'sever a limb'.

He was also desperate to stop 'needless' criminal damage at the lake.

Throw lines and life rings have been tossed into the water, which could compromise rescue efforts in case of an emergency.

A separate appeal from the South Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SCAS) also called for care to be taken following a spate of call outs to water incidents involving children, young people and adults this year.

Tony Heselton, paramedic and SCAS safeguarding lead said people should only swim in designated areas where there are the appropriate safety precautions.

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