Police in Surrey recovered the body of a 15-year-old boy from the River Thames near Walton at 4.40pm this afternoon (Wednesday 31 August). The boy had been spotted in difficulty in the water at Sunbury Lock at about 2.20pm. A diving team from Specialist Group International had been brought in to help in the search along with a police helicopter, fire brigade and ambulance crews.
Although the victim has yet to be formally identified the next-of-kin have been informed. A spokesman for Surrey Police said: "Enquiries remain ongoing to establish the circumstances of the incident, but it is not believed to be suspicious or that there is any third party involvement at this time. Members of the public are thanked for their assistance with the search," according to a report by Sky News.
The death of the teen follows a spate of water-related incidents this summer (2016) in which there have been a number of fatalities. Today it was announced that a 17-year-old pulled from open water near Sunderland had died. Liam Hall was in a dinghy in the River Wear with friends when it capsized yesterday (30 August).
Also yesterday a 45-year-old man died and a 12-year-old girl was taken to hospital after what appears to be a scuba diving accident near St Austell, Cornwall.
There have been a number of other tragedies including five friends who drowned at Camber Sands, a man and his daughter who died after a freak wave caught them unawares in Newquay, and the death of a mother and her son near Aberdeen.
Swimming in open water - including rivers, lakes, canals and the ocean - carry hidden dangers because of obstacles, tides, and the danger of cold water shock which can cause the body to shut down. Nick Thomas, the extreme swimmer who died attempting to swim the English Channel, said in an interview just days before his death that people who swim in open water should be very careful.
"You'll get a nice, sunny day and the water looks inviting," said Nick, according to the Shropshire Star. "People come in and they've swum in swimming pools all through the winter. They come to us in April and the beginning of May and the water is barely 11 or 12C. To most people that's like an ice bath. They obviously get into difficulties because the water is a lot colder than they were anticipating."