Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Paddlers Ignore the Danger Signs

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Paddlers Ignore the Danger Signs

Article excerpt

Byline: Dave Robson

Children are still paddling at a seaside danger spot - despite warning signs going up about the water's hidden depths.

In the past few days, the Gazette has twice told of lucky escapes after youngsters sank beneath the water while playing on Saltburn beach, where a beck spills on to the sands.

After hearing how Jessica Pinkney, seven, nearly drowned in the stream, Redcar and Cleveland Council moved quickly to erect two warning signs on either pillar of a footbridge near the scene.

The signs state "warning" and add "deep water - unpredictable river bed".

But over the weekend, hours after the signs were erected, parents were still allowing their youngsters to paddle in the water.

There was another potential tragedy as, on Sunday, a child had to be snatched from danger. Shocked onlookers saw a girl aged five or six disappear under the water and have to be rescued by an anxious adult.

A family from North Yorkshire saw the youngster paddling in the water, unaccompanied, when she suddenly disappeared from view.

"One second she was there and the next she was gone," said the woman, who was with her own youngster nearby. "A man, I don't even think he was with the girl, leapt out of his chair nearby and ran in and grabbed her. It was so quick, no one else had time to react."

The council's cabinet member for community safety, Councillor Joyce Benbow, said: "Our Beach Patrol Service are all experienced, with plenty of time to give advice and help, but they can't be everywhere. Our advice is: use common sense, don't go into the sea without checking the tide times and don't let your children go in unattended.

"We now have warning signs sited at either side of the bridge on concrete columns. Our lifeguards are aware of this area and make regular inspections to ensure public safety.

"We have also made a close inspection of the area, but the suggestion of cordoning it off or fencing the area is not possible due to soft sand and regular tides. …

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