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Teenager drowns whilst swimming with friends

What Happened
Person tired/overwhelmed by water
What Caused
Adverse environmental conditions
Casualty type/Qty
Causal Factors
Lack of awareness of hazards/obstacles
Injury Details
Accident suspected

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Description of Incident
THE 17-year-old boy who drowned yesterday while swimming with three friends in the River Severn has been named.

Tony Ballard of Jasmine Close, St Peter's, Worcester, had been swimming with friends in the river yesterday.

The Coroner for Worcestershire, Mr Geraint Williams, has been informed and a post-mortem is expected tomorrow.

He was pronounced dead in the Accident & Emergency Department of Worcestershire Royal Hospital at 8.45pm.

No-one else was hurt in the incident, to which police, fire and ambulance services were called at approximately 3.30pm Following a search involving all three emergency services and a number of craft, he was taken from the river at about 5.58pm.

Det Sgt Paul Freeman, who attended the scene, said: “This appears to be a tragic accident in which one teenager sadly lost his life. The boy’s friends are thought to have tried their hardest to rescue him from the water but unfortunately they were unable to save him.”

Ch Insp Jerry Reakes-Williams, head of Local Policing in South Worcestershire, said: “Following this tragedy we would remind everyone that they should never try to cool off in unsupervised water.

“The water is inevitably much colder than the ambient temperature - and the current usually stronger than anticipated - and even good swimmers can soon get into difficulties in these conditions.

“We hope that during the projected heatwave over the next few days - and perhaps weeks - everyone will heed this warning and resist entering rivers, streams, canals, ponds, lakes and quarry-water.”

The parents of Tony have paid tribute to their "wonderful" and "loving" son. In a statement released by Duncan and Ellie Ballard they said how Tony "lived his life for the moment, never worried about tomorrow".

"Tony was a wonderful, loving, normal teenager with all the joys and frustrations that brings. He always lived his life for the moment, never worried about tomorrow, and he died with his friends around about him," they said.

"We would like to pay tribute to his friends who did all they could to save Tony, to the police, fire brigade and ambulance staff for their hard work and support, and to the hospital staff at the Worcester Royal hospital, who worked heroically to resuscitate Tony.

"Tony was big-hearted and generous of spirit, and that is how we will always remember him."
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