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 Beware of what lies beneath, says the Environment Agency

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David Harvey

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PostSubject: Beware of what lies beneath, says the Environment Agency   Tue Aug 14, 2012 5:18 pm

14-Aug-2012

Come join us this Thursday (16 August 2012) on the River Thames at Pangbourne Meadow, by Whitchurch Bridge as Thames Valley Police Search and Recover team dive under the bridge to remove hazardous materials below.

The Environment Agency and Thames Valley Police are urging members of the public to ‘think before they swim’ as the school holidays get into full swing.

Come join us this Thursday (16 August 2012) at 11am on the River Thames at Pangbourne Meadow, by Whitchurch Bridge as Thames Valley Police Search and Recover team dive under the bridge to remove hazardous materials below. Royal Berkshire Fire & Rescue Service will also be on site providing a public event between 2pm and 5pm, answering questions on water safety.
Over the years Thames Valley Police divers have pulled out a variety of dangerous items from the River Thames including; shopping trolleys, motorbikes, fridges and television sets.

Falling on metal spikes, broken glass, shopping trolleys and other discarded items hidden underwater are just some of the dangers bridge jumpers and swimmers face. Being struck by a boat, caught in a propeller or swept along in a strong current are other possible risks.

Russell Robson, principal recreation officer for the Environment Agency, said: “We want people to enjoy being on or near the River Thames but they need to stay safe. Not considering the risks can end in accidents and in some cases, death, it’s just not worth it.
“Today is about highlighting what dangers may lie on the bed or the river; we want the public to be aware of the hidden dangers that come with swimming and jumping in the river.

“One of the best ways to get close to the water is on a boat and there are canoe, sailing and rowing clubs all along the Thames who are happy to welcome new members, there are also plenty of places to hire boats.”
Inspector John Ramsbottom said: “Thames Valley Police is always happy to help and support such an important initiative and highlight what is a very serious danger to the public”.

While the water may look enticing on a hot afternoon, people often fail to consider the following:
• There may be obstructions under the water such as submerged landing platforms, shopping trolleys, bicycles, broken glass and other potentially dangerous items

• The depth of the water is often uncertain going from shallow to very deep within short distances
• The water is often surprisingly cold only a few inches beneath the surface which can limit ability to swim any distance
• The speed of flow can be well beyond the abilities of even the strongest of swimmers, particularly after rain.
• Boats and other moving craft find it very hard to spot swimmers and cannot stop dead or move quickly out of a swimmer’s path
The Environment Agency has provided some information to consider when planning your days our and holidays, whilst still having fun and being safe:

Top tips
Don't jump or dive in as the depth may vary and there can be unseen hazards such as shallow water, broken glass or other sharp objects.

Don't go in near weirs, locks, pipes and sluices. These and some other water features are often linked with strong currents - these dangers can often be beyond the ability of even good swimmers to cope with safely.
Do take notice of any safety information, warning signs or flags. Know what the signs mean and do as they advise.
Be aware that inland waters can be very cold no matter how warm the weather. Those going into cold water can get cramp and experience breathing difficulties. Never venture out onto ice covered lakes, ponds or canals.
Think about the hazards near the waters edge. Banks can be unstable and suddenly collapse. They can also be very slippery when wet and if you fall in it is often difficult to get out of the water.
Use appropriate safety equipment for your activity - this could include a life jacket or a buoyancy aid and other safety wear such as a helmet.
Consider the dangers of using airbeds, inner tubes and other floatation devices. They can be carried away by currents or blown by the wind into deep water and may not keep you afloat.
Consuming alcohol may severely impair your ability and judgment when on or in water. If you have been drinking think twice about your safety and of those you may put at risk trying to rescue you.
Get trained in life saving and resuscitation techniques and know what to do in an emergency.

Parents and guardians can help keep children in their care safe by:

• Teaching them to swim
• Warning them not to go into water alone, or unsupervised
• Ensuring they know where the children are and what they are doing
• Supervising them closely when near any open water
Remember, drowning can occur very quickly even in shallow water and the key to keeping safe is not to get into difficulty in the first place. Be extra careful when in or near water - your options in an emergency are very limited and you should not rely on safety equipment being present.

There are lots of supervised activities on offer through the summer and this is the best way for children to enjoy the waterways. Details of a range of these can be found on our website www.visitthames.co.uk.
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James Mitchell

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PostSubject: Re: Beware of what lies beneath, says the Environment Agency   Tue Aug 14, 2012 5:50 pm

Well timed actually - loads of media have been reporting Mo Farah jumping naked off Kingston Bridge when he was younger - I reckon we could see some misguided imitation over the next three weeks.
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Steve Appleford



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PostSubject: Re: Beware of what lies beneath, says the Environment Agency   Tue Aug 14, 2012 8:12 pm

Not happened so much this year [probubly due to wet weather] but last year the bridge in question is on route to one of our favorite mooring spots and loads of Kids jumping off it most weekends....mental for added rush some of them jump off in front of boats ............
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Andy Banham

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PostSubject: Re: Beware of what lies beneath, says the Environment Agency   Tue Aug 14, 2012 8:38 pm

Lee.T got in the roding carefully sunday after dropping his chainsaw in 8ft deep water. both have recovered.
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Kevin Russell

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PostSubject: Re: Beware of what lies beneath, says the Environment Agency   Tue Aug 14, 2012 9:42 pm

I have no Idea how true this story is but it is enough to put you off jumping off any bridge, I heard it many times as a kid on the Thames around Hampton Court.
A Lad jumped of the bridge and landed on an old shopping trolley, it is said that his testicles got caught between bars and in his struggle to free himself one of them ripped out.
I bet feeling it as you read this.
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Andy Banham

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PostSubject: Re: Beware of what lies beneath, says the Environment Agency   Wed Aug 15, 2012 7:10 am

You can find out if its true send to q&a in the daily mail.
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James Mitchell

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PostSubject: Re: Beware of what lies beneath, says the Environment Agency   Wed Aug 15, 2012 10:11 am

Not sure when the story about the shopping trolley was first told, but it sounds very similar to Chuck Palahniuk's infamous short story "Guts".

Be warned, read only if
1) You can handle strong sexual content
2) Have a strong stomach

http://chuckpalahniuk.net/features/shorts/guts/

The "pearl diving" incident is recounted by the narrator near the end of the short story.
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David Harvey

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PostSubject: Re: Beware of what lies beneath, says the Environment Agency   Wed Aug 15, 2012 9:51 pm

This is tomorrow if anyone is off and local, could be very interesting

'Come join us this Thursday (16 August 2012) at 11am on the River Thames at Pangbourne Meadow, by Whitchurch Bridge as Thames Valley Police Search and Recover team dive under the bridge to remove hazardous materials below. Royal Berkshire Fire & Rescue Service will also be on site providing a public event between 2pm and 5pm, answering questions on water safety.
Over the years Thames Valley Police divers have pulled out a variety of dangerous items from the River Thames including; shopping trolleys, motorbikes, fridges and television sets.'
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Ed Randall

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PostSubject: Re: Beware of what lies beneath, says the Environment Agency   Sun Aug 19, 2012 9:22 pm

This lot at Teddington this afternoon obviously didn't attend.




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