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Student drowned after swimming in ‘cold’ river during summer heatwave

Jul 6, 2019

A student drowned after getting into difficulty while swimming in a river during last summer's heatwave, an inquest heard.

Callum Dawson, 17, entered the River Aire with friends in the early evening of June 26 last year.

But he was seen struggling with the "cold temperatures" of the water after reaching halfway across the river.

The joinery student began to panic and started waving his arms around before going under near to the Cardigan Fields retail park in Kirkstall, West Yorks., an inquest heard.

Emergency services were called at around 6.45pm but they took almost an hour to find the spot because the caller struggled to identify the location.

His body was recovered by a police underwater rescue team in the early hours of the following morning at a depth of around 6.5 metres.

Originally from Bradford, West Yorks., Callum, who had been living at a hostel in Beeston, was identified by his fingerprints and a postmortem concluded he died from drowning.

An inquest at Wakefield Coroner's Court on Thursday was told that his two friends went into the water first and began swimming towards the other side, followed by Callum.

A third friend, who remained on the bank, said he then saw Callum beginning to struggle as he reached halfway across the river.

In a statement read to the court, his friend said: "Callum began to panic, he looked cold and began to shiver.

"He started to struggle and began to sink. He was waving his arms about until he went under the water."

There was an attempt by one of the other swimmers to reach him, but he too said he began to struggle with the cold water temperature.

The emergency services were called by his friend on the bank but they took almost an hour to find the spot because the caller struggled to identify his location.

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