Exhausted boy suffering early signs of hypothermia ‘abandoned by friends’

File photo of Portchester Sailing Club pontoon. Picture: Mike Fooks ENGPPP00120111222124454
File photo of Portchester Sailing Club pontoon. Picture: Mike Fooks ENGPPP00120111222124454

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FRIENDS of a boy suffering the early signs of hypothermia abandoned him after he swam out to a jetty, lifeboat rescuers have said.

The 13-year-old was with friends diving off the pier at Portchester Sailing Club from 4pm on Thursday.

But when he was too tired to swim back the 150 metres to the pier and all but one of his friends left him. It was only reported to the coastguard at about 8.30pm. He was found in a ball unresponsive before being rescued.

Aaron Gent, from Portsmouth RNLI, said: ‘Most of the group of friends left him behind which is horrible to think.

‘You’re swimming with your friends, they leave you on a floating pontoon with one person.

‘He stayed behind thankfully to keep an eye on him.’

Mr Gent added: ‘If they weren’t there it would have been a very, very different scenario.

‘It would have been a possible missing person and to expand that, we’d get tasked and have to search the whole harbour and it could have been a more dire situation.’

Mr Gent is urging people to follow the RNLI’s Respect the Water campaign, which is aiming to halve the number of drownings by 2024.