Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service (MFRS) is warning of the dangers of open water, following the tragic death of a young man in Crosby.
Fire crews were called to Crosby beach, at around 7.24 pm, on Tuesday, July 20, 2021, following reports that five people were in difficulty in the water. Two fire engines, the search and rescue team and the rescue boat, Marine Fire One, were sent to the scene.
Crosby beach rescue operation
Crews assisted the RNLI and Coastguard with recovering the people from the water to the beach. Two people did not require medical assistance, but three others were taken to the hospital. Sadly, one of those people has died. A second person remains in hospital in a critical, but stable condition, and a third person has been discharged.
There have been 12 confirmed water-related fatalities in the last four days, across the country, with searches continuing for four other missing people in the water. Five people remain in the hospital, as a result of open water-related incidents.
MFRS working with partner agencies
Our thoughts are with the family and friends, following the tragic death of a young man this week on Crosby beach"
Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service is working with partner agencies, including the RNLI, Coastguard, RLSS, Merseyside Police, and local authorities, in order to warn people of the dangers of venturing into open water.
Following this latest tragic incident, Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service’s Area Manager, Gary Oakford, said “Our thoughts are with the family and friends, following the tragic death of a young man this week on Crosby beach. Sadly, this is the latest in a large number of water-related fatalities, reported across the country, during this period of hot weather.”
Spreading awareness on dangers of open water
He adds, “We would urge people to make sure they are aware of the dangers of open water, particularly when carrying out activities in and around open water. We know that around 50% of people, who drown in the United Kingdom, were taking part in normal everyday activities near water, at the time, with many having no intention of entering the water.”
Gary Oakford further said, “Open water swimming is very different to swimming in a pool and is much more dangerous. Even at this time of the year, when temperatures are warm, the water is often a lot colder than you expect and can affect your ability to swim, and sudden immersion can lead to cold water shock. There are also hidden currents that can quickly lead to difficulty for even the strongest swimmers.”
MFRS urges people to #BeWaterAware
While July 20th’s incident occurred on a beach, MFRS is also urging people to #BeWaterAware, when visiting canals, lakes, rivers, and dams.
Gary Oakford concludes, “It can be difficult to judge the depth of open water and steep sides, and banks can make it difficult to get out. There are also hidden dangers beneath the surface of the water, including debris that can cause serious injury and could potentially cause entrapment. Open water is also often untreated and contains contaminants that can make you extremely ill.”
Tips for staying safe near open water:
- Be aware and take notice of any warning signs.
- The water is cold, even on very warm days. Sudden immersion can lead to cold water shock, which can cause gasping and intake of water. Stay clear of the edge, when walking or running near water.
- River banks and cliff edges may be unstable and give way, particularly after bad weather.
- Depth can be difficult to estimate.
- One can get in, but might not be able to get out. People often get into difficulty with steep sides and slimy banks.
- Debris under the water, such as shopping trolleys, broken glass, and cans can cause serious injury and trap anyone.
- The water is untreated and can cause sickness.
- There may be hidden currents in the water.
- Avoid alcohol and drugs, when carrying out activities in or near water.
- Going to the beach? MFRS advises everyone to go to a beach with the availability of a lifeguard or rescue personnel. Be aware of which flag is flying on the lifeguard’s post, as this will warn against any dangers. Red and yellow flags mean that lifeguards are on patrol.
- If someone is in trouble, dial 999 and ask for the fire & rescue service, and for inland or coastguard service, if near the coast.
- Do not enter the water alone, as it could get difficult to get out. Look for something that floats or some object to hold onto, and throw it to the victim.
- If anyone falls into the water unexpectedly or gets into a difficult situation, fight the instinct to thrash around. Instead, lead back, extend the arms and legs and try floating in the water.