Warning to youngsters over river danger

CHILDREN have been warned not to jump from a bridge into a river near Ipswich just days after a teenager died after being pulled from a pond in the town following an accident.

CHILDREN have been warned not to jump from a bridge into a river near Ipswich just days after a teenager died after being pulled from a pond in the town following an accident.

During the recent hot spell, groups of up to 30 youngsters have gathered on the bridge that crosses the River Gipping and links Ipswich with Bramford.

The daring teenagers have been jumping over the fence that protects the side of the bridge, landing in the river below.

The warning comes after the tragic death of Ashley Dorling, who died after being pulled from a pond between Sproughton Road and Jovian Way after an accident on Saturday.


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Others have been playing on the sluice gate just a short distance away and the Environment Agency has warned that both locations are potentially hazardous.

The Environment Agency, which is responsible for managing more than 1,000km of waterways in England and Wales, warned people not to jump from bridges into rivers or play near sluice gates.

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Irven Forbes, an Environment Agency's Waterways Manager, said people needed to be aware of the dangers posed by fast-currents, weirs and locks, cold water, and unstable riverbanks.

He said: “Water claims the lives of more than 50 children a year in the UK. In fact, drowning is the third most common accidental death among Britain's under 16s, behind road accidents and house fires.”

One Bramford resident, who asked not to be named, said the crowds of youngsters were a hazard to themselves, passing pedestrians and drivers attempting to cross the bridge.

He said: “When it's nice and sunny, it's every night of the week and there are crowds of them down there.

“They stand on the road and jump straight over the railings and into the river. Surely they (the railings) should be higher - it's definitely a hazard. Something should be done about it.”

John Hooker, chairman of Bramford Parish Council, said the problem had got worse this year and matter had been referred to the police but they were unable to take any action as the children were not breaking the law.

He said: “Our main concerns are for a bit of peace and quiet for people who live nearby and for the safety of the kids jumping in.”

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