A 15 year old teenager from Oxford has drowned after he jumped into the River Thames from Donnington Bridge. It's understood that the teenager was with a friend who also jumped into the river. She resurfaced but on lookers quickly realised that he was in difficulty.
More than 20 people swam into the river to try and save him but the poor visibility and fading light meant that he was not found for two hours. He was picked up by fire fighters from the specialist water rescue unit at Kidlington and taken to Oxford's John Radcliffe Hospital where he was pronounced dead.
Eye witnesses say the bridge is a popular spot for children to jump into the river as the water is quite deep. However Station Manager Simon Belcher from Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service was keen to stress that this is a very dangerous activity. "In this hot weather it can be very tempting to cool down by taking a swim in the river" he said, but "the unseen hazards make this very dangerous and we would always recommend a supervised pool with a lifeguard on duty".
Police are appealing for witnesses to the incident to come forward.
– Det Insp Rob France
“It was a warm evening and there were lots of people by the river at that time and we would urge them to come forward and speak to us. We are particularly keen to speak to anyone who was on the bridge at, or just before, 8.30pm last night. The incident is not being treated as suspicious, however it is essential that we understand as fully as possible the events leading up to the tragic death of this young man.
“We would also like to emphasise that while it might be tempting to jump into the river during this hot weather, there are hidden dangers under the water and so we would advise against doing so.”