Flintshire RNLI warning over river danger

Reporter:

Kate Forrester

A LIFEBOAT crew manager is warning children to stay away from the deadly banks of the River Dee after the death of a nine-year-old boy last year.

Jordan Baker, of Connah’s Quay, was swept away last May after going swimming in the river with his father and brother.

As the anniversary of his death approaches, Alan Forrester, Flintshire’s lifeboat operations manager, is urging parents to make sure they do not run the risk of their child meeting the same fate, after police reports of youngsters playing near the river once again.

He said: “Now that the weather is getting warmer and the summer holidays are approaching, I would urge people to bear in mind how dangerous the River Dee is.

“Children should never go down to the waters edge – it is a tidal river and the water can rush in without warning, taking even the strongest swimmer. A child would not stand a chance.”

North Wales Police’s force helicopter was called out earlier this month after reports that children were on the banks of the river near Queensferry.

Mr Forrester added: “Now that the new cycle path is open near the river, it encourages a lot more people down there.

“It is a lovely area and people can enjoy themselves there as long as they keep away from the water.

“Any children who want to go swimming should go to the baths - it is just not worth the risk. When I started on the lifeboat in the 1960s, youngsters were often lost to the river because there were no swimming facilities.

“There is no need for that to happen these days and I hope we never have to deal with another tragedy like Jordan’s death. It was a horrendous incident.”

The Flint RNLI crew are also urging teachers across the county to get in touch with them about school visits to help raise awareness of the risks.

Mr Forrester said: “We are happy to visit any school before the summer with the lifeboat and our Land Rover, so children can have a look. It really helps to make them realise how deadly the River Dee is.”

See full story in the Leader

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