Report reveals drowning risk in River Ouse and River Foss in York

Report reveals river drowning risk

Report reveals river drowning risk

First published in News
Last updated

YORK'S rivers have claimed 24 lives in the past 15 years and there were 35 near misses in 2013/14, a new report has revealed.

Between 1999 and 2014, ten people died in the River Ouse and 14 died in the River Foss, a report to City of York Council next week says.

It says six people entered the Ouse in the city centre, two were believed to have gone in accidentally, two climbed barriers to jump in and drowned accidentally, and two were believed to have committed suicide.

It said that between May 2013 and April 2014 there were about 35 more incidents reported to North Yorkshire Police that were connected to the rivers and involved someone being harmed, but acknowledged this number was "likely to be an underestimate", due to the way such incidents are recorded by police.

Four people have died in York's rivers since January, leading to the launch of The Press' Take Care campaign, along with a River Safety Working Group set up by Police and Crime Commissioner Julia Mulligan, which features North Yorkshire Police, Fire Service, City of York Council, University of York, York St John University and others.

A River Safety Summit was held in March to address concerns about the safety of the rivers, and another is expected this summer to look at how the group can work together to improve education around the city and try to prevent further tragedy.

The report, which will go before the Safer York Partnership bi-annual performance group next week, also showed that of the incidents recorded:

-Four involved people falling into the river

-20 involved people swimming in the river

-11 people were threatening to jump into the river

-About a third of people involved in the incidents were under 18

-Incidents are reported all year round, but peak in July and August

Comments (12)

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10:38am Sat 26 Jul 14

Dave Ruddock says...

All I can say is and I do apologize to parents and friends of all that have lost people in both rivers.
There both rivers that attract people.
There are numerous young people that (Play) in the river Ouse and although seem not to get into difficulties.
From my point of view is "EDUCATE people, some are in no fit state and walk at the rivers edge.
Others like to try and swim across, knowing that they have never swam, or in no fit state.
I do hope and pray NO MORE loss of life. There are 2 boat companies in york and a fire resuce rubber launch from Humberside, I am sure there was a York rascue boat as well plus the council "Whatever it is" boat.
The average person can hold breath say 3 min s, a boat takes that to launch ??
All I can say is and I do apologize to parents and friends of all that have lost people in both rivers. There both rivers that attract people. There are numerous young people that (Play) in the river Ouse and although seem not to get into difficulties. From my point of view is "EDUCATE people, some are in no fit state and walk at the rivers edge. Others like to try and swim across, knowing that they have never swam, or in no fit state. I do hope and pray NO MORE loss of life. There are 2 boat companies in york and a fire resuce rubber launch from Humberside, I am sure there was a York rascue boat as well plus the council "Whatever it is" boat. The average person can hold breath say 3 min s, a boat takes that to launch ?? Dave Ruddock
  • Score: -10

10:40am Sat 26 Jul 14

Jim says...

Is there any analysis in the report of how many of these incidents involved people who had been drinking?
Is there any analysis in the report of how many of these incidents involved people who had been drinking? Jim
  • Score: 23

11:24am Sat 26 Jul 14

offa says...

I'm with Jim.

Don't put up notices or barriers. Get the morons to stop drinking so much
I'm with Jim. Don't put up notices or barriers. Get the morons to stop drinking so much offa
  • Score: 22

12:20pm Sat 26 Jul 14

PR Willey says...

I agree with Jim and offa, drink plays a massive part in river tragedies.
Barriers and railings wont make a blind bit of notice if somebody is hell bent on getting into the river, just like barriers and notices wont stop somebody sitting on a train track!
I have noticed more and more "near accidents" and "close calls" since the pubs/clubs were allowed to stay open later.
The amount of people who sit by Kings Staith, legs dangling over the side happily chatting whilst under the influence, all it takes is a little slip when getting back to their feet and they are in!
The amount of people who sit on the paraphet of Ouse Bridge during the early hours, again, a quick lean backwards and they are in!
Only last weekend myself, my work colleague and a member of the public had to stop a distressed, suicidal young girl from entering the water at Queens Staith, this was at 5.30am.
Thankfully we got her out and away from the water and waited till the Police came to have a word!
I have strong views on this drinking culture and river deaths, I was the person who called the emergency services when that poor lad went into the river behind the City Screen a few years ago, I never want to feel so helpless whilst trying to stay calm and guide the fire boat to where I saw him go under ever again.
That affected me for weeks, god knows how his parents coped.
The rivers are safe if used properly and respected at all times, the problem is drink, education is a fantastic tool but it needs to start at the root of the problem!
I agree with Jim and offa, drink plays a massive part in river tragedies. Barriers and railings wont make a blind bit of notice if somebody is hell bent on getting into the river, just like barriers and notices wont stop somebody sitting on a train track! I have noticed more and more "near accidents" and "close calls" since the pubs/clubs were allowed to stay open later. The amount of people who sit by Kings Staith, legs dangling over the side happily chatting whilst under the influence, all it takes is a little slip when getting back to their feet and they are in! The amount of people who sit on the paraphet of Ouse Bridge during the early hours, again, a quick lean backwards and they are in! Only last weekend myself, my work colleague and a member of the public had to stop a distressed, suicidal young girl from entering the water at Queens Staith, this was at 5.30am. Thankfully we got her out and away from the water and waited till the Police came to have a word! I have strong views on this drinking culture and river deaths, I was the person who called the emergency services when that poor lad went into the river behind the City Screen a few years ago, I never want to feel so helpless whilst trying to stay calm and guide the fire boat to where I saw him go under ever again. That affected me for weeks, god knows how his parents coped. The rivers are safe if used properly and respected at all times, the problem is drink, education is a fantastic tool but it needs to start at the root of the problem! PR Willey
  • Score: 24

1:30pm Sat 26 Jul 14

mjgyork says...

Of course it has to do with drink! But if it natures way of weeding out the visitors that we probably did not want in the first place - so be it. Locals should know better! Given a chance I tell the gusts in the hotel where I work, something that should be obvious: If you go near the river(s) be careful and STAY OUT OF THEM - THEY ARE DANGEROUS!
Of course it has to do with drink! But if it natures way of weeding out the visitors that we probably did not want in the first place - so be it. Locals should know better! Given a chance I tell the gusts in the hotel where I work, something that should be obvious: If you go near the river(s) be careful and STAY OUT OF THEM - THEY ARE DANGEROUS! mjgyork
  • Score: -11

2:14pm Sat 26 Jul 14

gravitydrips says...

Ahhh the British obsession with blaming everything except the actual cause. It's all to do with drink isn't it. Nothing to do with absolute mindless stupidity and the consequenceless society. How many people get drunk in York and DON'T end up in the river. I walked along that river countless times after visiting the pub and never ended up in the water. My mates did the same. My work colleagues, neighbours, the strangers I passed. Never saw or heard anyone go in that river.
A few stupid idiots end up in there, mainly at points directly in the city centre and it's an issue. The only people I feel sorry for are the guys who have got to search for and pull out the bodies.
Ahhh the British obsession with blaming everything except the actual cause. It's all to do with drink isn't it. Nothing to do with absolute mindless stupidity and the consequenceless society. How many people get drunk in York and DON'T end up in the river. I walked along that river countless times after visiting the pub and never ended up in the water. My mates did the same. My work colleagues, neighbours, the strangers I passed. Never saw or heard anyone go in that river. A few stupid idiots end up in there, mainly at points directly in the city centre and it's an issue. The only people I feel sorry for are the guys who have got to search for and pull out the bodies. gravitydrips
  • Score: -3

4:29pm Sat 26 Jul 14

What's Up, Doc? says...

Really, we need a report that says "River drowning risk"? Talk about stating the obvious! What next, "Fire heat risk"?
Really, we need a report that says "River drowning risk"? Talk about stating the obvious! What next, "Fire heat risk"? What's Up, Doc?
  • Score: 4

5:21pm Sat 26 Jul 14

Jack Ham says...

Never mind. After the third death in the last year Kersten England organised a river safety summit.

And then we didn't hear anything else.

It's hard to sort out problems like these when you have a Tour de France and foreign visits to take part in.
Never mind. After the third death in the last year Kersten England organised a river safety summit. And then we didn't hear anything else. It's hard to sort out problems like these when you have a Tour de France and foreign visits to take part in. Jack Ham
  • Score: -8

6:26pm Sat 26 Jul 14

LindaNess says...

The Royal Lifesaving Society UK is the charity devoted to safety in, on and around water. Their statistics show that 18% of all drownings involve alcohol. 86% of drownings occur in open water. The RLSS is represented in York by The Ebor Lifesaving Club, which meets every Friday evening in termtime at Energise. It is run by qualified volunteer trainer assessors, following RLSS schedules, including open water swimming in a safe environment. Anyone from the age of eight years who can swim two lengths is welcome. Young adults have the opportunity to train as trainer assessors and even as lifeguards with a partner company. Check out our website, facebook page or contact the secretary on 01904767452 for more information. So far, all attempts to gain publicity from The Press have failed.
The Royal Lifesaving Society UK is the charity devoted to safety in, on and around water. Their statistics show that 18% of all drownings involve alcohol. 86% of drownings occur in open water. The RLSS is represented in York by The Ebor Lifesaving Club, which meets every Friday evening in termtime at Energise. It is run by qualified volunteer trainer assessors, following RLSS schedules, including open water swimming in a safe environment. Anyone from the age of eight years who can swim two lengths is welcome. Young adults have the opportunity to train as trainer assessors and even as lifeguards with a partner company. Check out our website, facebook page or contact the secretary on 01904767452 for more information. So far, all attempts to gain publicity from The Press have failed. LindaNess
  • Score: 12

8:45pm Sat 26 Jul 14

Tug job says...

Dave Ruddock wrote:
All I can say is and I do apologize to parents and friends of all that have lost people in both rivers.
There both rivers that attract people.
There are numerous young people that (Play) in the river Ouse and although seem not to get into difficulties.
From my point of view is "EDUCATE people, some are in no fit state and walk at the rivers edge.
Others like to try and swim across, knowing that they have never swam, or in no fit state.
I do hope and pray NO MORE loss of life. There are 2 boat companies in york and a fire resuce rubber launch from Humberside, I am sure there was a York rascue boat as well plus the council "Whatever it is" boat.
The average person can hold breath say 3 min s, a boat takes that to launch ??
Quite right, Dave, "EDUCATE people". From the rest of your post I would recommend you start by educating yourself.
[quote][p][bold]Dave Ruddock[/bold] wrote: All I can say is and I do apologize to parents and friends of all that have lost people in both rivers. There both rivers that attract people. There are numerous young people that (Play) in the river Ouse and although seem not to get into difficulties. From my point of view is "EDUCATE people, some are in no fit state and walk at the rivers edge. Others like to try and swim across, knowing that they have never swam, or in no fit state. I do hope and pray NO MORE loss of life. There are 2 boat companies in york and a fire resuce rubber launch from Humberside, I am sure there was a York rascue boat as well plus the council "Whatever it is" boat. The average person can hold breath say 3 min s, a boat takes that to launch ??[/p][/quote]Quite right, Dave, "EDUCATE people". From the rest of your post I would recommend you start by educating yourself. Tug job
  • Score: 13

8:00am Sun 27 Jul 14

goatman says...

There's usually a gang of youngsters y the river just north of Scarborough Bridge when the weather is hot. They're in the water there every time it's hot but I've never seen anybody in authority challenge them.
There's usually a gang of youngsters y the river just north of Scarborough Bridge when the weather is hot. They're in the water there every time it's hot but I've never seen anybody in authority challenge them. goatman
  • Score: 5

1:50pm Sun 27 Jul 14

Meirion M says...

I feel for the parents whose loose their lives in any way. They are tragic: the loss of a young person's life is so sad. All their parents and friends can look back why each youngster's lives could have been if they had lived and full filled their lives' ambitions, the young soldier, the student, etc.
Sadly, each life lost is a loss to their parents, family, friends, society: the list goes on.
It is blame, more harder to prevent in the first place.
EDUCATION is the key.
Teach our youngsters to respect the river and sea water, but do not be afraid of th water. Respect it in stead.
I feel for the parents whose loose their lives in any way. They are tragic: the loss of a young person's life is so sad. All their parents and friends can look back why each youngster's lives could have been if they had lived and full filled their lives' ambitions, the young soldier, the student, etc. Sadly, each life lost is a loss to their parents, family, friends, society: the list goes on. It is blame, more harder to prevent in the first place. EDUCATION is the key. Teach our youngsters to respect the river and sea water, but do not be afraid of th water. Respect it in stead. Meirion M
  • Score: 4

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