Calls have been made for better education around the dangers of swimming in rivers and lakes after a teenage boy died in the River Tyne in Northumberland.

Shortly after 3.30pm on Saturday, police received a report of concern for the welfare of two teenage boys who were in the River Tyne near the bridge at Ovingham. One of the boys, aged 13, was rescued from the water and he remains in a critical condition in hospital.

A thorough search of the area was carried out in a bid to locate the second boy, aged 14, but sadly, his body was found in the water and he was pronounced dead at the scene. It comes less than two years after 13-year-old Robert Hattersley died in the same stretch of river in July 2022.The Northern Echo:

Coun Angie Scott, who represents the Prudhoe North ward on Northumberland County Council, has previously told of how she herself got into difficulty in the river as a youngster. Speaking to the Local Democracy Reporting Service, Coun Scott said more needed to be done to educate young people about the dangers of swimming in rivers.

She said: “It’s so tragic. My heart goes out to the family, it is absolutely heartbreaking.

“I think we need more equipment and signage. More needs to be done, we need a plan going forward.

“We need to get the message out to young people that it is not a safe place to swim. When you look at the number of these tragedies across the country, it’s a national issue.

“I think the Government need to look at it as well.”The Northern Echo:

Hexham MP Guy Opperman added: “This is a devastating incident, and one that has deeply shocked the local community. My heart goes out to the families and loved ones of the two young boys.” 

According to the Royal Life Saving Society, there has been an 85% increase in the number of child drownings in England between 2019 and 2022, with 20 drownings occurring in 2019/20 compared with 37 in 2021/22. 

Coun Scott also said she would be bringing the issue of safety up as a matter of urgency at this week’s meeting of Prudhoe Town Council on Thursday.

A huge emergency response was launched as part of the search, and included Northumbria Police, the North East Ambulance Service (NEAS), the Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS) and Northumberland Fire & Rescue Service (NFRS).

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The Northern Echo:

Coun Gordon Stewart, who represents the Prudhoe South ward, the cabinet member for public safety at the county council and the chairman of NFRS, praised those involved.

Coun Stewart said: “I would like to pay tribute to all the agencies involved – Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service, Northumbria Police, North East Ambulance Service, Great North Air Ambulance Service and Northumberland Mountain Rescue, for their professionalism during the very difficult events of Saturday.

“I know this incident has caused shock and sadness in the local community and my thoughts and those of everyone at the council are with the family and friends of those affected by this tragic incident.”