Warning to young people 'swinging' into River Tyne at same spot where Robert Hattersley died

Emergency services searching the River Tyne last summer in the search for Robert Hattersley. Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

Firefighters have issued a warning after young people were seen swinging into the water at the same spot where a teenager died last summer.

Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service had been called to a separate water rescue incident in the Ovingham and Prudhoe area when they spotted the young people playing in the River Tyne, at the same spot where Robert Hattersley died in July 2022.

Officers said they were "swinging" into the water but ignored attempts by the fire service and police officers to engage with them.

Robert Hattersley, 13, died in the river near Ovingham in July 2022. Credit: Family

In a statement, the service said: "We would like to ask that parents and guardians have a discussion with any young people they are responsible for about the dangers of swinging into water.

"There can be hidden dangers just below the surface such as large rocks, and hitting the water at an unlucky angle could stun anyone.

"Areas like this often have strong currents which are not always visible above the water, and it is important to note that fresh water is more difficult to float in than salt water.

"Cold water shock can also kick in immediately, which is a physiological reaction causing changes in breathing, blood pressure, and heart rate. It is caused by entering water 15°C and below, and prevent even experienced swimmers from swimming strongly. This shock can be the precursor to drowning."

Robert, 13, had been playing with friends last July when he got into difficulty in the river near Ovingham.

A major search operation was launched following his disappearance and his body was later found in the water.

His family want to launch the Robert Hattersley Foundation to raise awareness about the dangers of open water and to raise money to support other families.

Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To Know...