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Firefighters issue water safety warning following river rescue

At 19:57 hours last night, 3 June 2021, Firefighters attended an incident involving three children, aged 12 and 13, who had got into trouble swimming in the River Derwent, known locally as Pebble Beach in Alvaston.

Crews from Ascot Drive, Nottingham Road and Kingsway attended the incident alongside colleagues from Derbyshire police. The three girls were rescued from the River and passed into the care of East Midlands Ambulance Service.

Station Manager Mark Whitelaw said: “When the weather’s nice the River recedes to reveal a beach like area which becomes appealing to families, children and even horse riders; but Pebble Beach is a really dangerous place to be due to hidden river currents and the cold-water temperatures.

“Thankfully on this occasion Firefighters and police colleagues were able to rescue the three girls who were cold and in shock, but otherwise unhurt.

“With the hot weather set to continue this weekend, I’d urge people to think again if considering venturing to the river to enjoy a summers day out. While the river water may appear calm, it’s deep and has hidden currents that can quickly sweep the strongest swimmer downstream and into danger. Unfortunately, we saw this in July 2018 when we attended the tragic fatality of a 25-year-old gentleman who drowned after slipping from the weir at pebble beach and becoming trapped under the water by the strong currents.

“We want everyone to enjoy the warmer weather safely, so please talk to your friends, family, and children about the dangers of playing in, or close to any open water, but specifically this area of the River Derwent.” 

By following our simple advice everyone can stay safe when they are around open water. Our advice is:

  • Never enter the water – no matter how inviting it may look!
  • Avoid walking on routes near water if you have been drinking alcohol.
  • Don’t dive or jump into open water, this can cause potentially fatal cold-water shock even on the warmest day. You also don’t know what’s below the surface of the water – rocks or other hidden debris can lead to serious or fatal injuries.
  • Always supervise children around water - drowning can happen fast and silently.
  • If you find yourself unexpectedly in the water, don’t panic, extend your arms and legs out and float on your back until the effect of cold-water shock passes.
  • Never enter the water to try and rescue someone or an animal, call 999 immediately and ask for the Fire Service.

Crews will be in the area over the weekend to offer safety advice.

For more information visit our website or follow us on social media @DerbyshireFRS.