How to stay safe in lakes and rivers in Milton Keynes after tragic death

Emergency responders have issued strong advice and warnings on the dos and don'ts on staying safe by rivers and lakes.

Wednesday, 2nd June 2021, 1:58 pm
Updated Wednesday, 2nd June 2021, 2:00 pm

Following the unexplained death of a man in the Great River Ouse on Monday May 31, the authorities have warned against the dangers of open water swimming.

Thames Valley Police confirmed a man lost his life after being pulled out from the river at the rear of East Street in Olney - read the full story here.

This was the second death involving someone swimming in a local river in Buckinghamshire. In response the Bucks Fire and Rescue Service issued the following statement: "Please don’t be tempted to take a dip in rivers, lakes or canals, whatever the weather.

Bucks Fire and Rescue Service

"Even good swimmers can be caught out by cold water and hidden dangers such as fast currents, deep holes, soft mud, weeds or rubbish.

What you SHOULD NOT do

- "Never swim, even where allowed, after drinking alcohol

- "Avoid walking on routes near water if you have been drinking alcohol

- "Don’t dive or jump straight into open water – this can cause potentially fatal cold water shock even on the warmest day

- "If you find yourself unexpectedly in the water, don’t panic – extend your arms and legs out and float on your back until the effects of cold water shock pass

- "Never enter the water to try to rescue someone – call 999 and ask for the fire and rescue service if inland and the coastguard if you are on the coast

What you SHOULD do

- "The safest place to swim is in a supervised swimming pool. The water is clean, clear and warm, and there are lifeguards on hand if something goes wrong

- "Be aware of the risk of cold-water shock, a physical response by your body when entering cold water, which can affect your breathing, reduce your muscle ability and can even lead to a heart attack

- "Warn your children of the risks, and know where they are when they are out playing

- "At home, keep small children away from ponds and pools and make sure they are supervised in the bath."

Mayor of Olney Town Council, Philip Geach, urged similar caution in a statement, saying: "Please, please, if you are swimming in the river here, or indeed any open water do take extra care. There are hidden dangers for even experienced swimmers."