Belfast Telegraph

Home News UK

Waterfall swim death teenager named by police

Police have named a 16-year-old boy who died after swimming below a picturesque waterfall with his brothers and friends.

Curtis Atherton, from Hartlepool, got into difficulty in the pool below High Force in Teesdale, County Durham, at around 8pm on Tuesday.

He was found in the water following a major search operation at 9.45pm but died at the James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough later.

Police, fire, air support and mountain rescue search specialists raced to the remote scene, which is popular with walkers.

Durham Police said the teenager was with his brothers and friends when he got into trouble.

High Force is popular with visitors and can be spectacular with water flowing down the River Tees dropping around 70ft (21m).

Police said the five other teenagers - three boys and two girls - who had been with him were uninjured.

Detective Inspector Andy Crowe said "This is a devastating incident and a stark reminder of how a fun afternoon swimming with friends can end in tragedy.

"My advice is simple: do not swim in open stretches of water such as this as the dangers are often well hidden.

"As well as the deceptively cold water temperatures which affect people's ability to swim, there are many hidden hazards lying beneath, such as strong currents and discarded rubbish or rocks.

"Curtis's family would like to thank everyone involved in the efforts to locate Curtis yesterday evening."

Peter Bell, of Teesdale and Weardale Search and Mountain Rescue Team, told the Northern Echo the boy was "some distance from the bank" when he was found.

The water levels were not exceptionally high for the time of year but nor were they low, Mr Bell said.

He warned of the dangers of swimming in cold water, telling the newspaper: "Even the best swimmers can get affected by cold water shock."


From Belfast Telegraph