A TEENAGER who went missing in the River Ouse during a night out is believed to have tried to swim across.
Emergency services were called to King’s Staith at about 2.30am yesterday by a member of the public after the 18-year-old went into the river near the Lowther public house, and nobody saw him get out.
He is the third person to go missing after a night out in York this year, following the deaths of York St John University student Megan Roberts and Ben Clarkson, a former student at the university.
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Superintendent Phil Cain said the man had earlier crossed Ouse Bridge with two other people before going into the water.
He said: “The man is 18 years old who lives locally and is believed to have entered the river voluntarily on a night out with a group of friends. We cannot confirm if he has exited the water safely.
“Nobody has seen him exit the river at this moment and it is important we establish the exact circumstances surrounding the incident.”
Any witnesses who may have seen someone enter or get out of the river is urged to contact police.
The Yorkshire and the Humber Marine Search Unit carried out underwater searches yesterday and both banks of the river were cordoned off between the Lowther and Ouse Bridge throughout the day.
The search team used underwater scanning techniques to scan the water ahead of sending divers in to look for the missing man, with searches expected to continue today.
The body of Megan Roberts, 20, was found in the Ouse at Acaster Malbis on March 2 after she had disappeared during a night out in January. The 20-year-old is thought to have fallen into the river near Lendal Bridge.
Ben Clarkson, 22, also went missing after a night out with a colleague on Saturday, March 1. His body was found in the River Foss on March 21.
York’s first river safety summit was held last week, involving key agencies, and concluded that education about the dangers of the rivers was the key to preventing further tragedies. Ideas put forward included city-wide training for door staff, taxi drivers, police and street angels on how to deal with vulnerable people, working more with students, visitors and residents.
Just inside the area taped off by police yesterday morning is a plaque in memory of Paul Rogerson, a 26-year-old trainee accountant who drowned in the Ouse on March 26, 2011, after he slipped off the bridge while balancing on the parapet during a night out.
Poignantly, bouquets of flowers have recently been placed by the plaque, which reads: “Please help ensure no such tragedy can ever happen again by taking extra care when near the river.”