WARNING AFTER TRAGIC INCIDENT

West Midlands Ambulance Service is making a plea to be careful around open water after tragic events in a Black Country quarry.

Ambulance service staff were called to reports of a drowning at around 1.15pm on Wednesday at a location near to the Crooked House pub in Lower Gornal, Dudley.

An ambulance, the Hazardous Area Response Team (HART), paramedic officer and paramedic in a rapid response vehicle, together with the Midlands Air Ambulance from Cosford, were sent to the scene.

Ambulance crews were initially called to reports that a teenager was in difficulty in water at a disused quarry.  They requested back up from police and fire services.

The specialist HART team in dry suits worked alongside the Fire Service to search the water. Sadly no trace of the youngster was found and police divers were called to the scene.

John Woodhall, HART Support Manager is a water rescue instructor.  He said: "The sombre scenes at the quarry are a tragic reminder about the dangers of entering open water.

It is only day three of the school holidays. This combined with some of the warmest weather we have had has undoubtedly meant water such as this has looked enticing, but sadly it also brings very real dangers.

The reality of the situation is that every year we have to deal with cases where swimmers of all ages have got into difficulty for a variety of reasons.  Heartbreakingly some of those who go in simply do not come out alive."

There are a range of issues that people often forget:

  • The water can be much colder than the swimmer thinks which can cause them to lose their breath and get into difficulty

 

  • The pond, river, quarry or lake can often start off nice and shallow but then suddenly drop away.  The result can be that poor or non-swimmers find themselves out of their depth very quickly

 

  • The water can often be very murky which makes it impossible to see what is under the surface, hiding dangers such as disposed rubbish.  We have had cases where people have dived into the water not realising it is very shallow and banged their heads causing serious injuries

 "It may not be what people want to hear but swimming in supervised areas such as swimming pools is much safer and can be just as much fun.

If you do go into open water, please be prepared and take care so that we avoid any other tragic cases."

OPERATIONS STATISTICS:
Missions completed since 1991: 50,563 | On average we airlift a child every four days | Road traffic collisions make up around 35% of the incidents we attend | The service airlifts on average four horse riders each week.