Reuben Morgan’s friends in reservoir swim warning

  • 13 August 2017
  • From the section Wales

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Media captionLaurel Mitchell said Reuben’s death “destroyed them”

The friends of a teenage boy who drowned 11 years ago have spoken out in a bid to warn people of the dangers of swimming in reservoirs.

Reuben Morgan was just 15 when he died after swimming in Merthyr Tydfil’s Pontsticill Reservoir.

His friends who were with him on the day have taken part in a Welsh Water safety film.

About 300 people have been reported as swimming in Wales’ reservoirs this year alone.

Image caption It took divers three days to find Reuben Morgan’s body in Pontsticill Reservoir

Since 2013, the company has logged 808 incidents where people have attempted to swim in its reservoirs.

Its One Last Breath video features interviews with friends of Reuben Morgan who drowned at Pontsticill Reservoir in 2006.

Reuben had been among a group of friends who were camping nearby after their GCSE exams.

Five of them decided to swim across the reservoir to cool down.

Reuben’s friends made it across but after disappearing under the water three times Reuben did not resurface.

Image caption Welsh Water said men aged between 17 and 35 are mostly likely to swim in reservoirs

It took divers three days to find his body.

Kyle Thomas said they did not realise the dangers at the time.

“We were young and fit and were good swimmers. We thought we were invincible and just didn’t realise the huge dangers until it was too late.”

Laurel Mitchell said the accident “destroyed them”.

“We were only young and we had to grow up quick in order to deal with it,” she said, “it was just so sad.”


Reported incidents at Welsh Water reservoirs

  • 2013: Two people drowned at reservoirs in the Brecon Beacons, and between July and September there were 229 near misses
  • 2014: Between April and September there were 97 near misses
  • 2015: Between May and September there were 149 near misses
  • 2016: Between May and September there were 109 near misses. One incident involved two young children on an inflatable canoe

The dangers associated with swimming in reservoirs include freezing water which can disorientate a swimmer and numb their arms and legs.

Hidden machinery and strong under currents can also drag the strongest of swimmers down.

Welsh Water chief operating officer, Peter Perry said: “Reservoirs might seem like a great place to cool off, but they are full of hidden dangers.

“We know when the weather is particularly warm people are tempted to go for a swim – but I cannot emphasise enough that people are not only putting their own lives at risk, but also the lives of people who may try and help if they get into difficulty.”

BBC News – Wales

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