Release date: 9 August 2021
West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service is issuing a stark warning about the dangers of open water swimming after a group of young people had to be rescued today.
At 3.17pm, we were part of a multi-agency rescue operation from fast-flowing water in East Mascalls Lane, Lindfield.
Crews from Haywards Heath, Burgess Hill and the service’s Technical Rescue Unit attended alongside Sussex Police and South East Coast Ambulance Service.
Marvin Smith is West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service's National Resilience Flood Rescue Tactical Advisor. He said: “One of the group was injured but it is only pure luck that no one lost their life today. This incident could so easily have ended in tragedy.
“Please, please do not be tempted to swim in open water unless you are completely certain it is safe. The heavy recent rain has swollen river levels and rapidly increased the speed of the water, making it impossible to safely swim, even in rivers people are familiar with.
“Even if water looks calm it may not be under the surface, and cold water shock is the cause of many of the deaths we sadly see each year in rivers and lakes.”
The Fire Service is urging everyone to #BeWaterAware and to follow these top tips and advice on open water swimming.