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FIREFIGHTERS in Greater Manchester are warning people not to risk their lives by swimming in reservoirs following a tragic incident in Rochdale.
The latest warning comes after a teenage boy sadly lost his life at Greenbooth Reservoir on Monday (June 19) after getting into difficulties in the water.
Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service (GMFRS) were called to the scene at 5.53pm but the boy couldn’t be saved.
Sadly, there were more than 300 deaths from accidental drowning in the UK in 2016.
GMFRS’ Group Manager for Oldham, Bury and Rochdale, Jon Aspinall, said: “I would like to offer my condolences the family of the boy who lost his life in such a tragic accident.
“When the sun comes out and it’s nice and warm it can be tempting to take a dip in reservoirs, lakes and rivers but it is incredibly dangerous and sadly people drown every year as a result of swimming in open water.
“Reservoirs are huge bodies of deep, open water and surprisingly the temperature rarely rises above 12°C. This is low enough to cause shock and increased breathing rate – muscles will stiffen and fatigue will set in very quickly, making it impossible to swim to safety. Even the strongest swimmers would struggle.”
Last year in Greater Manchester alone, 63 people were rescued from open water and with thousands of people expected to descend on the region’s reservoirs over the summer months, it is important to take extra care and not be tempted by others.
Research conducted by United Utilities revealed that a third of people in the North West would consider swimming in a reservoir to cool down in hot water, while seven per cent admitted to being swayed by peer pressure, saying they would enter a reservoir if others were doing it.
Group Manager Aspinall added: “The water can be deep and it's difficult to estimate the depth before you get in. There is also no way of knowing what lies beneath the surface – there could be shopping trolleys, opened tin cans or broken bottles.
“If you choose to swim in open water you are putting yourself in danger, along with the emergency services who have to respond to these kind of incidents. The message is clear – do not swim in open water.”
For further advice about water safety, please visit http://www.manchesterfire.gov.uk/safe4summer/Water-Safety.html