Police officers searching for swimmers who went missing during the UK’s heatwave have found two bodies.
A body was recovered on Tuesday evening in the search for a man in his 20s from Wiltshire, who had gone missing in the lake at Cotswold Water Park, Gloucestershire Constabulary said.
On Wednesday morning, Scotland Yard said officers searching for a man last seen swimming in the River Thames at Shadwell Basin on Tuesday had recovered the body of a 23-year-old man.
He had been swimming with friends when he did not resurface, police said.
The death is not being treated as suspicious, with searches continuing to locate two other males also believed to be missing in the Thames.
As temperatures soar across the country, emergency services warned the public to take precautions during the extreme heat and highlighted the risks of cooling off in the sea, lakes and rivers.
Inspector Stuart Simpson, from the Metropolitan Police’s Marine Policing Unit, said: “Whilst at times, the Thames may look appealing, especially in this hot weather, it remains very dangerous all year round.
“On initial entry, the water can seem warm on the surface, but further in it can be freezing cold and there are often very strong undercurrents.
“The initial shock of the cold water is often what leads to people going subsurface and subsequently drowning.”
The UK is bracing itself for what could be its hottest ever day after overnight lightning storms triggered fires and rail disruption.
According to the Met Office, there is a 70% chance the mercury could rise above the current all-time temperature record of 38.5C on Thursday.
Conditions could reach 39C in southern and eastern England, it tweeted.
With temperatures topping 30C in the South East on Wednesday, Network Rail has warned train speed restrictions may be introduced in areas where tracks are at risk of buckling.
Extreme weather action teams (EWATs) have been “activated” to keep passengers safe and trains running, Network Rail said.
The Rail Delivery Group, which represents the industry, advised passengers in London and the South East to consider changing their travel plans on Thursday because of the expected heat.
Director of nations and regions Robert Nisbet said on behalf of train operators and Network Rail: “This week could see record-breaking hot weather for Britain.
“While train operators and Network Rail are working together to minimise disruption, we ask passengers to check before they travel and consider travelling earlier on Thursday if possible.
“We also ask people travelling by train to carry a water bottle and if they feel unwell, get off at the next stop where a member of staff will be happy to help.”
Eurostar passengers were evacuated from a train after it stopped outside Brussels due to problems with the overhead power supply.
One passenger, Tom Theys, told PA temperatures on the train had risen to more 40C when the air conditioning went off.
He said about 700 passengers were eventually let off the train and took shelter in a tunnel to wait for another train to rescue them and take them back to Brussels.
Mr Theys added: “We left Brussels at 11am local time and were just outside the urban area when all of a sudden the train stopped.
“They told us they needed to switch off all the electricity on board. The biggest thing was the air conditioning, the temperature rose to an estimated 45C inside the train.
“We stayed inside the train for about two hours – it was packed. The staff were really friendly and continuously bringing water, but it kept getting hotter and hotter. It was very uncomfortable.
“After about two hours or so they asked us to leave the train and all move to a tunnel that was nearby, which was really cool and it was very pleasant to be there.”
A Eurostar spokeswoman said: “One of our trains has been held due to an issue with the power supply.
“We are working to resolve this as soon as possible, and another train has been sent from Brussels to collect travellers on board.
“Customers with bookings this afternoon should check our website for any cancellations caused as a knock-on effect and we apologies for any inconvenience caused.”
Large swathes of the country experienced storms and lightning strikes in the early hours of Wednesday.
Warwickshire Fire and Rescue Service said two engines were sent to a smoke-logged house in Bedworth, near Nuneaton, shortly before 2am after lightning struck an aerial.
Lightning also set a roof annex ablaze and caused a building to be evacuated at around 1.25am in Bowling Bank near Wrexham, North Wales Fire and Rescue Service said.
The Red Cross Crisis Response Centre tweeted that there were three fires caused by lightning during the night.
Lightning damage to a signalling system at Wakefield Westgate station in west Yorkshire led to fewer trains running on Wednesday morning, train operator Northern said.
The storms came after temperatures across England exceeded 30C on Tuesday, with forecasters predicting even hotter temperatures to come.
On Wednesday, the Met Office said the temperature hit 33.7C at Cavendish in Suffolk and reached 33.5C in Writtle, Essex.
At Heathrow in London, the mercury rose to 32.4C, while at St James’s Park it reached 31.9C.
Met Office spokeswoman Nicola Maxey predicted it would be a “dry, sunny day, generally very warm, but very hot for parts of the East and South East”.
“Generally a good day everywhere once the thunderstorms have pushed out the North East,” she added.
The Met Office issued a yellow warning for scattered thunderstorms covering the east of the country from Scotland down to London from 3pm on Thursday and into early Friday morning.
It warned that flooding and lightning strikes could affect driving conditions, disrupt train services and lead to power cuts.
Ms Maxey said the highest overnight average temperature (between 9pm and 9am) ever seen in the UK was 23.3C at St James Park in July 1948, and there is a possibility this will be beaten this week.
The average daytime temperature for the UK in July is 19C, which is already being exceeded by evening conditions this month.
On Tuesday night into Wednesday the mercury hit 21C at St James Park.
The hottest ever temperature for July was recorded at 36.7C at Heathrow on July 1 2015.