‘Tragedy site needs lifebelt’

thisisoxfordshire: Hussain Mohammed Hussain Mohammed

CALLS have been made for another lifebelt to be installed close to the spot where a teenager drowned.

Oxford city councillor David Williams is leading a campaign to have emergency lifebelts to be fitted on both banks of the Thames at Donnington Bridge, rather than just on one.

It comes three months after 15-year-old Hussain Mohammed, from Cowley, drowned after jumping off the bridge with a friend in May.

Mr Williams said: “Although there is a life ring on the Weirs Lane side of the bridge there is nothing on the Donnington riverbank.

“Precious minutes could be lost as people run over the bridge to reach the safety equipment.

“A life ring is needed on the Donnington side of the river because it is on that side that most of the public activity in using the river takes place. Most of the rowing clubs are on that side and close by and it is on the Donnington side that there is a slipway.”

It is not known if a lifebelt on the Donnington side, the opposite bank to the Thames towpath, would have helped Hussain, but the Iffley Fields councillor believed it would help others in the future to have as many life-saving options as possible close to the spot.

Related links

Mr Williams has asked the Environment Agency and Thames Water if they could erect a lifebelt safety box, but as neither organisation owns the land they are unable to help.

Oxford City Council said it was responsible for providing and maintaining lifebelts next to rivers and waterways in Oxford, although some are owned by the Environment Agency and others by boatyards.

A spokesman said: “The council has 100 lifebelt stations along the River Thames and other public waterside locations, which are labelled with an identifying number and phone number. Lifebelts are inspected once every two weeks in the summer and once every four weeks in the winter.

“We work hard to ensure that should you ever need to use one, a lifebelt is available and in the best condition.

“We are happy to look into the suggestion for an additional life ring, but will obviously need to assess whether the proposed location is suitable and whether an additional ring is required.”

Mr Williams has offered to pay for the equipment out of his councillor’s allowance.

He said: “I realise that people could go to the rowing clubs and the Riverside Centre for help in an emergency and I am sure they would do all they can.

“But in a situation where somebody is drowning, every second is vital and a highly visible life ring easily available could be a real life saver.”

Comments (3)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

9:15pm Wed 5 Sep 12

cuckoo says...

The problem is that however many life belts are placed on the riverside there are still those "muppets" who think it's a "jape" to throw them in the river!!
The problem is that however many life belts are placed on the riverside there are still those "muppets" who think it's a "jape" to throw them in the river!! cuckoo

11:08pm Wed 5 Sep 12

Myron Blatz says...

No 'cuckoo' the problem is that unless pushed, agencies and those responsible don't provide such essential equipment due to cost-saving, not life-saving. It's like 'accident blackspots' on roads, where people have to die before the authorities knee-jerk into action.
No 'cuckoo' the problem is that unless pushed, agencies and those responsible don't provide such essential equipment due to cost-saving, not life-saving. It's like 'accident blackspots' on roads, where people have to die before the authorities knee-jerk into action. Myron Blatz

10:02am Thu 6 Sep 12

Andrew:Oxford says...

Myron Blatz wrote:
No 'cuckoo' the problem is that unless pushed, agencies and those responsible don't provide such essential equipment due to cost-saving, not life-saving. It's like 'accident blackspots' on roads, where people have to die before the authorities knee-jerk into action.
It can't be an "accident blackspot" until something actually happens. That's why there is a reactive response.

There are multiple issues with lifebelts, for example...

Are any of the lifebelt stations illuminated at night so that they can be found?
When the river is in flood, are the lifebelts accessible?
Is it appropriate to force private landowners or leaseholders to install lifebelts on land adjacent to public waterways?
Will the CPRE be happy if every water course in England deep enough for a child to drown in were to have an illuminated lifebelt station every 25 metres near town and every 50 metres in the countryside on both banks?

Then there is the ultimate one in todays compensation culture. If a landowner or councillor installs a lifebelt at their own expense, but the lifebelt is missing or proves faulty at the time of greatest need - will that person be liable?
[quote][p][bold]Myron Blatz[/bold] wrote: No 'cuckoo' the problem is that unless pushed, agencies and those responsible don't provide such essential equipment due to cost-saving, not life-saving. It's like 'accident blackspots' on roads, where people have to die before the authorities knee-jerk into action.[/p][/quote]It can't be an "accident blackspot" until something actually happens. That's why there is a reactive response. There are multiple issues with lifebelts, for example... Are any of the lifebelt stations illuminated at night so that they can be found? When the river is in flood, are the lifebelts accessible? Is it appropriate to force private landowners or leaseholders to install lifebelts on land adjacent to public waterways? Will the CPRE be happy if every water course in England deep enough for a child to drown in were to have an illuminated lifebelt station every 25 metres near town and every 50 metres in the countryside on both banks? Then there is the ultimate one in todays compensation culture. If a landowner or councillor installs a lifebelt at their own expense, but the lifebelt is missing or proves faulty at the time of greatest need - will that person be liable? Andrew:Oxford

Comments are closed on this article.

click2find

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree