River Avon boat accident leaves father and boy dead

The BBC's Joan Cummins: "The weir has got quite a severe drop down to the River Avon"

A father and a boy have died in a boating accident on the River Avon in Warwickshire.

Another boy and a girl were rescued and taken to hospital after the rowing boat overturned in strong waters at a weir in Barford on Saturday afternoon.

West Midlands Ambulance Service said the boat capsized.

A member of the public helped rescue one boy and the girl, but the bodies of the man, named locally as Julian Mynott, and boy were recovered later.

Start Quote

The water is very, very fast-moving... it's white water conditions”

End Quote Jim Onions Assistant chief fire officer

Both were declared dead at the scene, Warwickshire Police said.

Floral tributes have been left close to where the incident happened.

One read: "So many tears will be shed for you both. Angels are watching over you now."

It is believed the man was the children's father, but police said the names of the victims would not be released until formal identification had taken place.

Local residents helped with the rescue attempts while more than 40 firefighters were searching the river, with police, the air ambulance, paramedics and a Hazardous Area Response Team also at the scene.

The children are all thought to be under the age of 10.

Warwickshire Police's Insp Adrian Davis and Jerry Penn-Ashman of Warwickshire Ambulance Service

West Midlands Ambulance Service said a local resident and a police officer managed to pull the first two children from the water, which was in full flow.

The girl suffered a cardiac arrest and was given CPR by the resident and policemen before being taken to Warwick Hospital by ambulance, a spokesman said.

She was later transferred to Birmingham Children's Hospital where she was said to be seriously ill but stable.

The boy who was rescued was taken to the same hospital, conscious but poorly.

The dead boy's body was recovered at about 20:30 BST and the man's body was pulled from the river shortly after 22:00 BST.

Assistant Chief Fire Officer Jim Onions, from Warwickshire Fire Service, said it was a "very terrible, traumatic incident" and said some emergency service workers had been in tears.

He added: "The water is very, very fast-moving. It's white water conditions."

Floral tributes Friends and residents left flowers on a bridge above the river

Ally Bonner-Evans, the landlady of The Joseph Arch, a nearby pub, said she tried to help police in the early stages of the rescue using a boat belonging to her parents but struggled because of the conditions.

"Unfortunately the river is so high and the current is so fast heading towards the weir, there was no way we could stay in there in a boat at all really," she said.

"There is a massive feeling of devastation in the village at the moment because it's so sad and it's such a tragic thing to happen."

Insp Adrian Davis, of Warwickshire Police, said it was "a terrible day for many people" but paid tribute to the residents of Barford who he said had been "excellent, supportive and helpful".

A statement issued by the police said: "All the emergency services involved in the operation have expressed their thanks to the people of Barford for their help and support during what has been an extremely difficult and tragic incident and their thoughts are with the bereaved."

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