Teen boy dies after 'jumping in river to rescue friend who fell into water while playing on rope swing'

19 May 2024, 13:44

Ovingham Bridge
Ovingham Bridge. Picture: Alamy

By Kit Heren

A boy, aged 14 has died after getting into trouble in a river, with a witness reporting that he leapt in to rescue his friend, who is still in a critical condition, a witness has said.

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The boys, who are aged 14 and 13 and have yet to be named, went missing after getting in trouble in the River Tyne close to Ovingham bridge, about 15 miles outside of Newcastle on Saturday afternoon.

The 14-year-old died, and the 13-year-old is still fighting for life in hospital after being hauled from the water.

Police, ambulances, water rescue teams and a helicopter were scrambled to the scene at 3.30pm on Saturday.

The body of the 14-year-old boy was later found in the water following a search, and he was pronounced dead at the scene. The parents of both boys are being supported by specially-trained officers, police said.

The two boys are thought to be part of a larger group who had come from Newcastle.

Read more: Two teenage boys missing after getting into trouble in River Tyne, as rescue teams and helicopter scrambled to search

Read more: Onlookers failed to help drowning man 'and took selfies' after he fell into deep river in Yorkshire

The single track road bridge across the River Tyne that links Ovingham to Prudhoe, Northumberland, England
The single track road bridge across the River Tyne that links Ovingham to Prudhoe, Northumberland, England. Picture: Alamy

The spot is said to be popular for young people because the waters appear "calm", but the river is dangerous

A woman who drove past the scene told the Sun: "I heard the first boy went into the river from the swing and he showed he was in trouble so the second one went in after him which I believe is the one who died.

Ovingham Road and Pedestrian Bridges at Ovingham, Northumberland.
Ovingham Road and Pedestrian Bridges at Ovingham, Northumberland. Picture: Alamy

She added: ""They have come here thinking it is a nice spot to play. It's very common to see kids travelling from the Newcastle area.

"They think it's a calm spot to jump in the river but they don't realise the dangers. It's absolutely devastating.

"My kids used to play down and there and I would always say please, please be careful.

Chief Superintendent Helena Barron, of Northumbria Police, said: "This is an absolutely tragic incident, and our thoughts are with the families of both boys at this difficult time as we continue to support them.

"A number of agencies were involved in the incident and their support was hugely appreciated. It is with great sadness that we could not provide a more positive update."

Northumberland Fire & Rescue Service said on Saturday night: "Teams are currently on scene at an ongoing incident at the river Tyne near Ovingham.

"2 Swift Water Rescue units from Pegswood, an appliance from Prudhoe and a number of senior officers are present."We are working with Police, the Ambulance Service + Mountain Rescue at this time."