Safety plea to heatwave swimmers after eight water deaths in North West

Swimmers have been warned to take care after a spate of fatalities in the waters of the North West during the heatwave.

The RNLI launched its awareness campaign just hours after a man, 21-year-old Hamzar Monsoor, died after being pulled from the water at Crosby Beach.

Eight people have now died in the water in our region during the heatwave.

The body of a man in his 20s, who was seen entering the sea in Fleetwood before disappearing on Saturday 17 July, was discovered six hours later after a major search operation by rescue services.

Ngapee Merenga drowned in Salford Quays Credit: M.E.N

Over the weekend, talented footballer Ngapee Merenga, 19, drowned after swimming with team mates at Salford Quays.

On Sunday, a man died in the water at a Victory Quarry in Dove Holes, near Buxton.

The body of a 16-year-old boy was recovered from the River Weaver on one of the hottest days of the year on Tuesday.

On Thursday, 16-year-old boxer Frank Varey died after getting into difficulty while swimming in the River Dee in Chester.

Frank Varey Credit: ITV News

And on Friday, it was confirmed that a man's body was recovered from Torside Reservoir, near Glossop.

The latest death came on Saturday, 24 July, after a 19-year-old was pulled from the water near St Annes Pier in Lancashire. Despite being taken to hospital he died a short time later.

The Canal and River Trust said there are too many risks that you can't see hidden below the surface, and lots of other ways you can cool down with two feet on the towpath.

Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service said there had been 12 confirmed water-related deaths in the last four days across the country, with searches continue for four other missing people in water.

Five people remain in hospital as a result of open water-related incidents, it added.

  • Gamal spoke to Beckie Ramsay, whose son Dylan, 13, drowned in a quarry near Chorley 10 years ago this month.

The RNLI's key summer safety advice is:

  • Visit a lifeguarded beach and swim between the red and yellow flags.

  • If you get into trouble Float to Live – lie on your back and relax, resisting the urge to thrash about.

  • Call 999 in an emergency and ask for the Coastguard.

Figures released by the RNLI today have revealed lifeguards on the North West’s beaches assisted 2,314 children and 2,007 teenagers last summer – more casualties under the age of 18 than anywhere else in the UK and Ireland.

Most of those offered help on the RNLI’s lifeguarded beaches in Sefton and the Wirral were simply out enjoying a walk and not expecting to even get their feet wet.

Crosby is the only RNLI beach to be lifeguarded 365 days a year and is not the only location where tidal cut off is a common occurrence. 

Local search and rescue agencies continue to see a rise in incidents to people cut off by the tide and stuck in mud and requiring help from the RNLI on Wirral and in the wider Merseyside area

RNLI statistics show people enjoying a walk and getting cut off by the tide caused almost 10% of all RNLI lifeboat launches over the last decade - more than double the UK average.

Tips from the Canal and River Trust

  • Depth perception. Canals are often shallow, which you can't tell from the surface. If you jump in you are likely to injure yourself, possibly seriously.

  • Don't be fooled by thinking that all canals are shallow. If you can't put your feet on the ground, it'll be much harder to get out. Rivers, reservoirs and docks are generally much deeper, and colder.

  • Canals are havens for wildlife and maintaining water habitats are an important part of our work. If you're in the water, reeds and other plant life could get tangled around your limbs and trap you in the water making it very difficult to climb out.

  • Sadly, rubbish like shopping trolleys can be lurking below the surface of canals and rivers. If you're in the water you could injure yourself by cutting yourself on a rusty old bicycle or broken glass, or get trapped on a larger piece of rubbish, like a trolley or even a motorbike.