Action urged on River Ouse dangers

York Press: York GP Doctor Mandeep Ahluwalia York GP Doctor Mandeep Ahluwalia

FOLLOWING another death and a dramatic rescue from the River Ouse, calls have continued to grow for greater safety awareness in York.

On Sunday, the body of 41-year-old York GP Doctor Mandeep Ahluwalia was found in the Ouse, and on Monday a woman in her twenties jumped from Clifton Bridge into the river.

She was rescued by two passers-by, and Dave Benson who founded the York Rescue Boat charity said the incident was another example of how dangerous the river can be, and how further precautions were needed.

He said: “I think without doubt this highlights the potential dangers of the River Ouse.

“It also further highlights the need to push the awareness campaign up a notch.

“The River Ouse is a busy stretch of river for water traffic, tourists and people having a drink, a dedicated rescue/patrol boat could only bring a positive resource to the city delivering awareness and furthering safety. In addition to the awareness campaigns people do still need to take responsibility for their own actions.”

Mr Benson said once the rescue boat scheme was up and running, it would initially patrol the river at what he called “high risk times such as student nights, race days Saturday afternoons and weekend nights”, but as the scheme continued the aim would be to extend patrol times.

Dr Mandeep Ahluwalia’s death marks the fourth in York’s rivers since January.

Student Megan Roberts, 20, musician and shop worker Ben Clarkson, 22, and Signaller Tyler Pearson, 18, have all died in the Ouse and the Foss this year, prompting calls for action over river safety from the public and the launch of The Press’ s Take Care safety campaign.

An inquest into Dr Ahluwalia’s death was opened and adjourned yesterday.

Coroner Donald Coverdale said Dr Ahluwalia had suffered from back and neck pain, was undergoing physiotherapy and had recently been prescribed antidepressants by his doctor.

No provisional cause of death was given, and a full inquest is likely to take place in October after toxicology and other tests have been carried out.

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