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15-year-old boy dies after van fall

Police have issued a stark warning to youngsters risking their lives in moving traffic after a teenager died when he fell from the back of a van.

Officers believe the 15-year-old boy, who has not been named, was standing on the tow bar of a Renault Traffic panel van and holding on to the roof as it was travelling along Third Avenue in Woodlands, Doncaster, when the accident happened at around 6pm yesterday.

Sergeant Andy Noble, of South Yorkshire Police, said the youngster fell from the back of the van and hit his head on the kerb, suffering serious head injuries.

He was taken to Doncaster Royal Infirmary for treatment but later died of his injuries.

Sgt Noble said this was not the first time he had seen an incident of this kind but added he was not aware of "traffic surfing" - a recent craze where people climb on top of or hang on to the back of moving vehicles, sometimes on skateboards or longboards.

"It's something I've seen before," Sgt Noble said, "but that was in Barnsley and not round here.

"It is the first time I've heard the phraseology 'traffic surfing' but that's not to say that's not what's happening - it could be that it's happening and people are getting away with it without anyone getting hurt."

Sgt Noble said the 18-year-old driver of the van was helping police with the investigation into the 15-year-old's death and it was not yet known if he knew the boy was hanging on to the back of the vehicle or the speed at which it was travelling.

"Whether it was with the driver's knowledge or without, the fact that the young lad has taken hold of the vehicle has resulted in his death.

"Yesterday it was him, tomorrow it could be someone else. We can't say enough not to do this."

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