Youths caught jumping into Lancashire reservoirs 'dozens' of times sparks 'stark' danger warning

Children and older youths have been caught risking their lives by plunging into the icy waters of reservoirs across Lancashire.

By Sean Gleaves
Saturday, 30th May 2020, 2:01 pm

Water bosses have issued a stark danger warning to anyone visiting the region’s favourite beauty spots this weekend after pictures emerged of people ignoring social distancing and ‘no swimming’ advice.

United Utilities say they have recorded "dozens of cases of people jumping into reservoirs and refusing to respond to requests to adhere to well-signposted guidance."

Pictures taken yesterday (May 29) at Worthington Lakes, near Chorley, and at Alance Bridge, at Yarrow reservoir, near Rivington, show children and older youths risking their lives by plunging into icy waters as lockdown measures start to ease.

Catchment managers at United Utilities fear it is only a matter of time before someone is killed or seriously injured by swimming in reservoirs which is forbidden due to the hidden dangers and risk of drowning.

Paula Steer from United Utilities said: “The government’s ease of lockdown restrictions is welcome news for many, especially with the current glorious weather. But now is not the time to let our guards down. Increasing numbers of people, many of them children and young people, but by no means all of them, are choosing to ignore the dangers, as our pictures show.

“Our people can’t be everywhere all of the time and we also have to consider the risk to our own staff in approaching people to warn them. I would urge all parents to stress and stress again to young people, that no matter how inviting the water looks, it is deadly.

"The effect of cold on the human body can be sudden and fatal and by the time you realise, it’s too late.”

Families at Worthington Lakes, near Wigan. (Credit: United Utilities)

Fire and Rescue Services from both Greater Manchester and Lancashire United Utilities reminded people not to go swimming in reservoirs earlier this month.

Area Manager Paul Fearnhead from Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service said: “As always we advise people not to enter or swim in open water – if there is no lifeguard then it is not safe to swim. Too many people have lost their lives after getting into difficulties in water – even the strongest of swimmers suffer from cold water shock and can find themselves caught up in objects hidden beneath the water’s surface. Please wait for leisure centres to re-open before you think about swimming.”

Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service have six stations around the county that specialise in swift water rescue, but they warn sometimes it's not always possible to get to an incident in time

Group Manager, Mark Hutton, from Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service added: "Due to the nature of drowning incidents prevention is always far better than cure.

People were caught jumping off a bridge and into the water at Yarrow reservoir in Rivington. (Credit: United Utilities)

"No matter how fast the emergency response is sometimes we just cannot get to the location of people in difficulty fast enough."

Why is it dangerous to swim in reservoirs?

Reservoirs may look inviting, especially on a hot day, but they are about the worst possible places to take a swim, according to United Utilities:

- The water never really gets above 11°C, there’s hidden machinery and there’s no lifeguard on duty

Youngsters ignore locked gates at Worthington Lakes, near Wigan. (Credit: United Utilities)

- Reservoirs are often in isolated places

- There may be hidden currents

- There may be hidden obstacles beneath the surface

- It may be difficult to get out

- There might be blue green algae in the water

To find out more about reservoir safety, click HERE.