Warnings after death of Alfie McCraw in Aire and Calder Navigation canal near Wakefield

Alfie McCraw who drowned in Wakefield
Alfie McCraw was due to start army training. Credit: Facebook/Paul McCraw

A teenage boy who died in an incident at a West Yorkshire canal has been named as 16-year-old Alfie McCraw.

Police were called to a report of concern for the safety of a youngster in the Aire and Calder Navigation, near the Southern Washlands, Wakefield, at 2.11pm on Monday, 11 July.

They recovered the body of Alfie a short time later.

The teenager had just finished school and was due to go to army college in September.

Emergency services say the case highlights the dangers of swimming in open water.

Emergency services recovered Alfie's body from a stretch of water near Wakefield.

Supt Nick Smart, of West Yorkshire Police, said: "This was an extremely tragic incident which has resulted in the loss of the life of a boy who had just finished his GCSEs.

"We have specially trained officers who are supporting Alfie's family at this unimaginably awful time."

He said the emergency services were working with the Canal and River Trust to deliver lessons in school about the dangers of open water swimming.

"The weather is forecast to get even hotter over the weekend and into next week, but we would urge people to not be tempted to cool off in open water, unless it is a supervised area intended for swimming," he said.

Emergency services at the scene of the Aire and Calder Navigation.

Jimmy Fitt, West Yorkshire Fire Service's Wakefield station commander, added: "This is a truly tragic incident and our thoughts go out to all Alfie’s loved ones. 

"When the warm weather comes around, we do see a spike in the number of people entering water – and this can unfortunately prove fatal.

"Our advice is to not go into any area of water that isn’t supervised - as the pull of water, cold water shock and hidden dangers can mean even strong swimmers get into difficulty.

"We need people of all ages to be aware of the risks – we know when it’s warm it’s tempting to get into the water, but you must only do it in safe designated areas or the consequences can be fatal."

A crowdfunding page has been set up to support Alfie's family. His cousin, Zoe Jones, who started the appeal, said Alfie "had his whole life ahead of him".

She added: "If anybody can help it would be much appreciated from all of us. No parents should be planning to bury their children."

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