Wales

Water safety included in pupils' school qualification

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Media captionWater safety included in pupils' school qualification

Schoolmates of an 11-year-old boy who died after falling into a river have been learning about water safety.

Children from Queen Elizabeth High School in Carmarthen were at a quarry in Vale of Glamorgan on Wednesday.

They were there as part of the new Welsh Baccalaureate water challenge, which aims to teach children about the dangers of open water.

Richard Evans, from the school, said it was "a really important issue in terms of educating our students".

The water challenge will form part of the baccalaureate from September and covers rivers, lakes, reservoirs, quarries and the sea.

Pupils will have to carry out 10 hours where they plan and carry out activities to educate their friends, community and visitors on the dangers of water and how to stay safe.

Cameron Comey was playing with his brother by the River Towy in Carmarthen on 17 February 2015 when he fell into the water. His body has never been found.

A coroner called his death a "truly awful case".

Mr Evans, the school's baccalaureate coordinator, said: "The loss of Cameron is very fresh in our memories - it's been two years since Cameron tragically went into the water."

He said the water challenge was about "keeping students away from the dangers of open water".

Pupils were at the quarry in Wenvoe to get rescue demonstrations from South Wales Fire and Rescue Service.

They also were taught about the dangers water poses - including temperature, hidden hazards and the chance of getting caught or trapped.

Nathan Rees-Taylor, watch manager at Barry fire station, said one of the dangers children were not often aware of was the cold-water shock, which could take someone's breath away and "cause them to drown almost instantly".

"These places are inherently dangerous and, as such, shouldn't be entered," he added.

Year 10 pupil Ryan said it was important for people at their school as the River Towy runs behind it and many people walk home on the path next to it.

Fellow pupil Gwen said she felt it was "extremely important for all schools".

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