Norfolk

Bawsey Pits: Man and teenage boy found dead in water

  • 17 July 2013
  • From the section Norfolk
Bawsey Pits
Image caption The bodies of a man and a teenager were recovered from separate lakes

The bodies of a man and a teenage boy have been recovered from a water-filled quarry at a popular beauty spot.

Their bodies were pulled from Bawsey Pits near King's Lynn, Norfolk, on Tuesday.

Police said the dead man was 41 and from King's Lynn, and the boy was 16 and originally from London but had been living in Ely, Cambridgeshire.

Swimming is banned at the pits, which are deep and with thick undergrowth, but many ignore warning signs.

Police officers, firefighters, paramedics and an RAF search and rescue helicopter were involved in the search, which began at 16:30 BST.

A police helicopter was also called to assist.

Officers later confirmed the discovery of two bodies. They have yet to name the pair.

Police said the body of the man was discovered shortly before 19:30 BST and the boy's body was found shortly before 21:30.

They said the bodies were recovered from separate pits and the incidents were unrelated.

The man who died had told his girlfriend he planned to swim about 50 yards (45m) out in one of the flooded quarries towards an island.

'People ignore warning'

He was near the shore of the island when he disappeared below the surface.

At the same time, police were told of the missing teenager at another lake about half a mile (800m) away.

Both were found entangled in reeds about 6ft (2m) below the surface.

Norfolk's assistant chief constable Nick Dean said other people were ignoring warning signs and swimming at the pits on Tuesday.

"This is a very popular spot just outside King's Lynn and the attraction of the sun and the water brings a lot of people to this area," he said.

"Yes, there are signs up and our appeal is that people must take heed of what happened yesterday.

"Reports were that people were entering the water as we were attempting the recovery yesterday evening, so that's how on occasions people ignore the warning."

'Don't be tempted'

He said investigations were continuing.

"Clearly we need to piece together what happened here and the sequence of events which occurred throughout yesterday," he said.

"Hopefully this will be the final tragedy of the summer."

He said officers would be at the pits on Wednesday to warn people about the danger of swimming there.

"It's going to be another hot day today. Take care out there and don't be tempted to go into this sort of lake or open water unless you are very, very sure about where you are swimming," he said.

Norfolk's chief fire officer, Neil Williams, said the lakes were very shallow in places but could shelve away steeply.

Underwater obstructions in the lakes included trees and reeds, he said.

"There are a myriad of things below the surface that can't be seen that can be a hazard to you," he said.

A spokesman for Sibelco UK, which owns the pits, said: "Naturally everyone was very saddened to learn of the tragic events yesterday.

"We will continue to work with the police and the authorities as the investigation continues and seek to see if there are any measures we can take to make things even safer there, but we must stress this is a much-loved place with public access so there's always a limit to what we can do.

"There are signs in place which clearly state that swimming is not permitted.

"We will do really what we can but unfortunately you can't always mitigate for what the public wish to do."

Colin Everett, who lives nearby, said: "People swim here all the time.

"In the late afternoon you get people coming from King's Lynn. There can easily be 50 people a day swimming here."

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