1. ITV Report

'Accidental' verdict over teen's Llandybie quarry death

A schoolboy whose friend drowned at a disused quarry has described the frantic rescue efforts to save his life.

Luke Somerfield was pulled from the freezing water at a place known as Blue Lagoon in Llandybie, Carmarthenshire.

The 14-year-old, of Ffairfach near Llandeilo, climbed into the secluded quarry, which has an 8ft-high fence and barbed wire around its perimeter, with friend Warren Jachter and two girls on June 6 this year.

An inquest at Llanelli town hall heard that Luke got into difficulty while playing around with a lifebuoy in the water which is up to 80ft deep. His arm got stuck in a rope attached to the lifesaving device, causing him to thrash around in panic in the freezing-cold lake.

Despite an attempt by friend Warren and two police officers - one of whom is a former lifeguard - the teenager's life could not be saved. Doctors managed to restart his heart but the damage to his lungs was too severe.

The water was freezing and after going in for a few minutes, we decided to get out. We went exploring around the edge of the quarry for around an hour, but Luke decided he wanted to go back in," it read.

He put the life preserver on and went out into the waters, with him sitting in the middle. As he was drifting further and further out, he started to panic and jumped off the ring. He immediately went under and when he came back up he was splashing wildly and calling for help.

I thought he could swim well but it became obvious that he couldn't."

– Warren Jachter

Fourteen-year-old Warren swam out to his stricken friend but Luke was unintentionally pulling him under in his panic, and he returned to the shore and rang 999.

Luke came back to the surface several times but eventually went under and vanished from sight.

Once the alarm was raised, police went to the scene at Cilyrychen Quarry. Among those first to arrive were Constable Robert Lang and Constable Alan Morgan.

PC Lang told the inquest that he cut through a metal fence and sprinted up a gravel path to find two girls screaming and boy who he said was pale and looked stunned.

PC Lang remove his heavy stab-vest and utility belt and waded into the water."The first thing I noticed was the intense cold. I had cold stabbing pains and experienced shortness of breath," he said.

Former lifeguard PC Morgan, who was next to enter the water, noted the "instantaneously" freezing temperature of the water. He treaded water for up to two minutes and reached out for the lifebuoy that Luke used, as the cold began to take hold.

With a police helicopter and RAF Sea King Rescue team now hovering above, a "white shadow" was seen in the dark-blue water. PC Morgan dived down around 15ft and retrieved Luke's body.

Luke was airlifted to Morriston Hospital and was pronounced dead later that evening.

The inquest heard that Luke and his friends went to the quarry because they heard from other children in school that it was "a fun place to go swimming".After recording a verdict of accidental death, Coroner Mark Layton said: "I would like to offer and extend my sympathies of Luke's friends and family. I would also like to commend the bravery and courage displayed by officer Lang and officer Morgan as well as others who played a part in the rescue effort."