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Life buoy plea after River Esk death

The life buoy has been replaced. Credit: ITV Border

A Parish Council in Cumbria is pleading with people not to tamper with life saving equipment at the side of the River Esk in Longtown.

Vandals had removed this life buoy and damaged the casing near the site where a man was swept away to his death last Tuesday.

The equipment was replaced at the weekend but the local council says it has an ongoing problem with vandals.

We're going to hold a meeting soon to try and discuss what we're going to do moving forwards - are we going to replace the whole lot for better equipment?

That remains to be seen.

But in the meantime, please leave these alone, they're there for a reason, and you don't want anything on your conscience, nobody does, and so that's the message - don't tamper with them."

– Gordon Routledge, Arthuret Parish Council


'He was the real hero': firefighter praises father who died after river rescue

Geoff Maxwell Credit: ITV Border

The firefighter who saved a young girl from the River Esk has paid tribute to her father, whose body was later found in the river.

Geoff Maxwell, a retained firefighter, described the moment he heard screams, and realised a family at the riverside were in trouble:

I heard a lot of screaming and at first I thought it was just the kids playing, splashing around.

But then the mother appeared and shouted for help, so I ran down, dived in and dragged the girl out."

– Geoff Maxwell

He says the girl's father must have kept her alive for at least five minutes before he arrived, and should be celebrated as a hero.

That father had been in the water for at least five minutes, keeping that child afloat.

So he's the hero in all of this - he kept that girl alive - I just jumped in and finished it off.

It was a real tragedy this."

– Geoff Maxwell

Watch the interview with Geoff:

Firefighter who rescued girl from River Esk speaks out

The empty life buoy. Credit: ITV Border

The retained firefighter who rescued a young girl from the River Esk says her father could also have been saved - if a floatation device at the side of the river hadn't been missing.

Geoff Maxwell had been working on the house next to the river, in Longtown, when he rescued the young girl:

There had been a flotation device at the side of the water but it had gone so somebody had either pinched it or thrown it into the water.

It was gone.

They're there for a purpose and it could have perhaps saved a life if it had been there."

– Geoff Maxwell

Water warning following river death

Credit: ITV Border

Cumbria firefighters are warning of the dangers of swimming in the county’s lakes, rivers and reservoirs following the death of man who got into difficulties in the River Esk.

The fire service says rivers, lakes and reservoirs can hold hidden dangers, from sudden drops in temperature and uneven depths, to unseen objects and currents.

“We don’t believe that last night’s tragic incident involved people voluntarily going into the water and our thoughts are very much with the family at this time.

“This tragedy does, however, demonstrate the dangers of outdoor swimming.

"Rivers, lakes and reservoirs look peaceful on the surface, but are full of hidden dangers and even strong, experienced swimmers can get quickly get into difficulties.

"If people are going to swim outdoors they need to be extremely cautious and be fully aware of the risks they’re taking.

"Also the waters are colder than you may think and swimmers often lose the ability to save themselves due to the shock of entering the cold conditions.”

– Jim Onions, Cumbria’s Chief Fire Officer

Tributes paid after man's body found in River Esk

Credit: ITV Border

Flowers have been placed at the scene where a man's body was found in the River Esk in the early hours of this morning.

Emergency services spent the evening searching the river in Longtown, but the operation was called off at 00.37am when a body was discovered.

The man has not yet been identified but police say he was in his early thirties.


River search called off after a man's body is found

Credit: ITV Border

A major search and rescue on the River Esk in Longtown, Cumbria, ended early this morning when a man's body was found.

Police say a man in his early thirties, from the Carlisle area, got into difficulties in the water at 4.15pm on Tuesday after experiencing what they describe as a 'medical episode'.

A young girl was rescued quickly, but the man disappeared.

Firefighters, police diver, police air support, mountain rescue teams, Coastguards, and an RAF helicopter spent the evening searching the river, but the operation was called off at 00.37am today (Wednesday) when a man's body was found by a search party.

A spokesman for Cumbria Police said this morning that the man's death is not being treated as suspicious, and that his family is being offered support by officers.

Driver injured in A6071 Longtown crash

The A6071 road near to the Whitesyke Garden Centre in Longtown has reopened following a crash this morning (29th August).

Police were called at 10am after a Jaguar X-Type and a Volvo vehicle crashed.

The driver of the Jaguar X-Type, an elderly male from Smithfield, was taken to Cumberland with serious but non-life threatening injuries.

The driver of the Volvo vehicle did not suffer any injuries.

Police thank people for their patience.

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