Norfolk

Bawsey Pits deaths: Drowned man was searching for teen

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Media captionWesley Moule saw his friend get into difficulty in the water

A 41-year-old man drowned searching for a missing teenage boy at a Norfolk beauty spot, it has emerged.

Ryan Pettengell, 41, of King's Lynn, and Umar Balogun, 16, from London were recovered from Bawsey Pits quarry lakes near King's Lynn on Tuesday.

Post-mortem examinations carried out on Thursday confirmed the cause of death for both as drowning.

Mr Pettengell was with friends when he tried to swim out to an island to look for the missing boy when he died.

Unknown to Mr Pettengell, Umar's body had already been found when the group he was with spotted beach towels on an island about 150ft (50m) from the bank.

'A hero'

The friends thought the towels might belong to the boy, who they had learned was missing from police.

Image caption Ryan Pettengell broke his arm five weeks before he died at Bawsey Pits

Mr Pettengell, who had broken his arm five weeks beforehand during a fishing accident, decide to try and swim across.

His friend Wesley Moule was with him at the time.

"He was about 10 yards from the bank and got into difficulty," said Mr Moule. "I was just bobbing up and down."

Another friend went into the water to try and pull Mr Pettengell to safety but could not find him under the water.

"I think he should be remembered as a hero," said Mr Moule. "He died trying to save someone else's life."

Swimming in the lakes, which are deep and thick with undergrowth, is banned, but the warning signs are ignored by many people.

Police are continuing inquiries into circumstances surrounding the deaths, working with the Health and Safety Executive and King's Lynn and West Norfolk Borough Council.

Inquests into both deaths will be opened by the coroner in due course, police said.

There will be more on this story on Look East at 18:30 BST tonight.

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