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Sunday, September 15, 2019

Council to check River Trent lifesaving equipment more often after drowning death

PUBLISHED:

Lifebuoys will be checked more frequently after the death of a 19-year-old man in the River Trent this summer.

New no-swimming signs will also be installed, and meetings will be held to discuss what more can be done, it has been revealed.

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Przemek Kozlowski from Bradford drowned on Bank Holiday Monday (August 26) after going swimming from Victoria Embankment.

Lifebuoys – designed to be thrown to a person in the water – were missing from near where he drowned.

The city council is responsible for 26 lifebuoys along the river, and said that before the death had checked them weekly.

The lifebuoys which were missing after Mr Kozlowski died had been checked on the Wednesday before, August 21.

Now, an opposition councillor has asked the council to ‘step up’ its efforts, and the council has revealed the wide range of plans it is putting in place.

Councillor Kirsty Jones represents Clifton East for the Nottingham Independents.

Speaking at a full council meeting on Monday (September 9), she said: “I am sure I speak on behalf of every councillor, and for the council as a whole, when I offer my condolences to the family of the young man who sadly died whilst swimming in the River Trent on August 26.

“In light of these tragic events, does the portfolio holder agree with me that the council needs to step up its preventative approach to water safety, championing a multi-government agency approach across the city to discourage people from swimming in our open waters?”

Councillor David Trimble represents the Lenton and Wollaton East ward for Labour, and said: “I absolutely join you in offering my condolences to the family of the young man who died in the Trent, as I’m sure everyone in this chamber does, and everyone at the council.

“Guidelines must not be set in stone; we must always learn and improve.

“There are 28 lifebuoys on both banks of the river, and those were inspected on a weekly basis. We are now inspecting them three times a week.

“New no-swimming signage has been ordered. However, it’s an ongoing challenge because sometimes life buoys are stolen, vandalised and even thrown into the river.

“It’s an absolutely mindless act by very stupid people. It’s also a criminal act and can result in a £5,000 fine and or prison.

“The public health team have arranged a meeting to further review our procedures and discuss what future steps can be taken to proactively educate and inform the public about the danger of open water swimming.

“If I could also make a heartfelt plea to people in this city to not swim in open water, unless they are taking part in safe, lifeguarded sessions.

“For anyone who wants to do this, they can do it in organised sessions run by the council at Colwick Country Park, and that’s run by Colwick lifesavers.”

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