Words of tribute left for teenager who died in River Tyne tragedy near Ovingham

Floral tributes placed by The River Tyne in Ovingham, Northumberland following the tragic death of a 14-year-old boy
Floral tributes placed by The River Tyne in Ovingham, Northumberland following the tragic death of a 14-year-old boy -Credit:ChronicleLive

Written tributes have been placed on the bank of the River Tyne in memory of a teenager who died after entering the water over the weekend.

A huge search and rescue operation was launched shortly after 3.30pm on Saturday, May 18, after police received a report of concern for the welfare of two boys who were in the river near Ovingham. Despite the best efforts of emergency services, a 14-year-old sadly died at the scene.

A 13-year-old boy was rescued from the water and he remains in a critical condition in hospital. The parents of both boys are being supported by specially-trained officers, Northumbria Police confirmed.

Today, tributes have been laid close to where the incident happened, including flowers and kind messages. One tribute read "Thinking of you always". A heart shape was also carved into the ground close to the scene.

While many people grieve the loss of a young life, it has also prompted calls more safety measures - such as safety equipment and signage - to be put in place. Councillor Angie Scott, who represents the Prudhoe North ward on Northumberland County Council, called for the change following the "absolutely heartbreaking" incident, which comes less than two years after 13-year-old Robert Hattersley died in the same stretch of river in July 2022.

Saturday's emergency response involved teams from Northumbria Police, the North East Ambulance Service (NEAS), the Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS), Mountain Rescue and Northumberland Fire & Rescue Service (NFRS). And today NFRS is reminding the public to be aware of the "very real dangers" of swimming in open water.

NFRS Area Manager Joe Haustead said: "It is difficult in these circumstances to find the right way to offer water safety advice, but doing so could prevent another tragedy from taking place.

"Our thoughts are with the family and friends of those involved in this tragic incident and unfortunately it underlines the very real dangers presented by rivers and the sea.

"The water may look calm on the surface, but there can be strong undercurrents that could pull even a strong swimmer under the water. And even when the weather feels very hot, the water may feel warm on the surface, but just a few feet below the surface it can be icy cold – affecting the stamina and strength of even strong swimmers.

"If you are with someone who gets into difficulty, call emergency services for help. If you can, use an object to try and reach for them, but don’t put yourself in danger by entering the water."

More information on water safety is available HERE.