Campaign highlights quarry dangers
A new campaign to highlight the dangers of disused quarries has been launched by the Environment Minister.
Signs are to be erected at known danger spots while social media and posters will be used to raise awareness after two people lost their lives at a derelict quarry last month.
Colin Polland , 39, died trying to save 15-year-old schoolboy Kevin O'Hare who had got into difficulty while swimming in the quarry close to Annalong.
Alex Attwood said: "We all should be aware of the dangers of disused quarries. Several people have died in disused quarries in recent years. I have met or heard from some of the families and their pain and anxiety that more lives should not be lost, is vivid.
"Today I am launching a series of actions to encourage 'Stay Out! Stay Safe!' to highlight the dangers of swimming in quarries. Disused quarries are not playgrounds. They are not places to explore. I cannot emphasise enough that everyone, adults, teenagers and children must stay away. Quarries are no go areas."
There are more than 3,000 abandoned quarries in Northern Ireland. Mr Attwood said there were problems with ownership of some of the sites.
Last month the minister met representatives from the Quarry Products Association, the Health and Safety Executive and district councils and appealed for more action to make quarries safer.
The minister added: "Most people do not realise how very cold quarry water can be. It can be much colder than rivers and the sea and this causes swimmers, even the best swimmers, to cramp, go into shock and drown quickly. This is the stark truth.
"Quarries pose other hidden dangers. Old machinery can be left in the quarry and become submerged by rainwater over time. Such machinery may not be visible and can cause serious injury or death to anyone who jumps onto it.
"I urge all parents to know where your children are at all times, particularly during the summer holidays."