Public warned about dangers of outdoor swimming

The hot spell has been marked by several tragedies.

A man’s body has been pulled from the waters of a quarry in Worcestershire, the third open water-related death in the West Midlands despite numerous appeals not to swim in such waters and warnings of their dangers.

In the latest incident, West Midlands Ambulance Service was called to Gullet Quarry near Upper Colwall shortly before 4.25pm today. It was the same water in which a man died last Saturday. Yesterday a teenage boy who was swimming with friends in the River Avon in Evesham became entangled in fishing netting and was taken to hospital. Earlier today the body of a man was recovered from the River Severn in Bridgnorth.

Attending today’s incident at Gullet Quarry were two ambulance crews, an advanced Community Paramedic in a rapid response vehicle, the Midlands Air Ambulance from Strensham and members of the Hazardous Area Response Team. Other emergency services also attended. Shortly before 7pm, the body of a man was recovered and he was confirmed dead at the scene.

For John Woodhall, a water rescue specialist with West Midlands Ambulance Service, it was his second call to the quarry within a week. He said: “I’ve been here twice now. How many more people need to die before someone takes notice of our warnings of the dangers of swimming in open waters?

“After the first death I was back here at the quarry doing a TV news interview about it. The dead man’s friends were laying flowers and, despite warning a man walking past me not to go into the water, he still did. He walked past the tributes on the way. I must have counted 20 people still swimming there.”

Mr Woodhall continued: “Quarries are not like swimming pools. The water is much colder. You go from 28 degrees outside to 10 degrees in the water. You can get muscle cramps and stitches. The bottom is uneven, there are no depth markings. Even strong swimmers can slip underwater and you may not make it back up again. Sadly, this is something that has now happened three times.”