River jaunt could have ended in ‘tragedy’

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FIREFIGHTERS saved a boy from drowning after he nearly got sucked into a culvert.

The 12-year-old was playing on a makeshift raft with two friends on the River Lavant, in Chichester, when he got into trouble and was swept downstream, at 6pm on Monday.

The force of the water carried the boy dangerously close to the culvert pipe, where the river goes under the city, before he managed to pull himself on to a small brick ledge.

Firefighters from Chichester were able to reach the boy using ladders and ropes. The boy, who was suffering from cold and shock, was treated at the scene by paramedics but did not need hospital treatment.

Commander Kim Taylor said: ‘This young lad had a very lucky escape because this could have been a much more serious incident.

‘If he had been swept a few more feet downstream into that culvert pipe then I have no doubt we would be talking about a tragic outcome.

‘This incident really does highlight how dangerous playing on, or wading into, water can be’.

She added: ‘Our advice is simple – don’t put yourself or others at risk. Just stay out of the water.’