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Jay Moffett’s death at Co Down lake is every parent’s nightmare

Editor's Viewpoint


Flowers and a message left near the scene

Flowers and a message left near the scene

Flowers and a message left near the scene

Scarva in Co Down is best known as the location for the annual sham battle between King William and King James but the anguish which has gripped the area after the tragic death of 13-year-old Jay Moffett is all too real.

His death was every parent’s nightmare. On a hot summer’s day he went to a local lake to go swimming but sadly died. It was the sort of activity that many have indulged in during the current record-breaking heatwave but on this occasion it ended in tragedy.

The profound shock and grief at his death was manifested in the messages and flowers left near the site by his friends and peers. It might have been any one of them that is being mourned today. One particularly poignant message read ‘Jay, so sorry I couldn’t have done more to help you’. What is that young person thinking at this time?

Lakes, rivers and flooded quarries are tempting locations in weather such as we are experiencing at the moment. While most people accept that the sea can indeed be a cruel, dangerous place, the placid waters of inland waterways hold no such terrors at first glance.

But that is to underestimate the dangers that lurk beneath the waters. As water levels fall, snags which were previously well below the surface can now trap the unwary. Also the air temperature may be high but the water in lakes, rivers and quarries can be icy cold, inducing cramps, breathing difficulties or hypothermia. Unless help is immediately at hand the result can be tragic.

Another danger is the temptation to dive into the water. There could be rocks or other objects just below the surface which can cause severe injury or incapacitation leading to death.

In this case a young lad, just into his teens, has lost his life.

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Those who knew him speak highly of his character and his potential which now, sadly, will never be realised.

That is a message which everyone should heed. Water is a tempting environment at the moment but it must be treated with respect. Always make sure that you are accompanied if going for a swim in unfamiliar lakes, quarries or rivers and take the utmost care on entering the water.

Obviously it is best to avoid such locations but there will always be people tempted to cool off in a local waterway. With the hot weather forecast to continue that temptation will grow, but should be resisted.

Jay’s family would not wish any others to suffer as they do at the moment and people right across Northern Ireland will share in their grief.

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