Boy in River Medway death identified as Alex Chappell

  • Published

A boy who died after falling in the River Medway has been identified.

Alex Chappell, 12, was playing with friends on a rope swing over the water at a park in Tovil, near Maidstone, when he fell, Kent Police said.

Officers said he was not a strong swimmer and got into difficulties. A passer-by dived in to help but was unable to find him in the deep water, police added.

Police have confirmed the circumstances of the death as non-suspicious.

A post-mortem examination will be carried out in the next few days.

The head teacher of Astor of Hever School in Maidstone paid tribute to the schoolboy.

Vanessa Everett said: "We are all deeply saddened at the news of Alex's death. He was a very popular and lively boy who will be greatly missed by all his friends and teachers.

"Our thoughts and prayers are very much with his parents and family."

Resuscitation attempts

Police, fire and ambulance teams were called to the scene after the boy fell in the river at about 1430 BST on Monday.

Image caption,
Alex Chappell had been playing on a rope swing over the River Medway at a park in Tovil

Two water safety unit boat teams from Kent Fire and Rescue Service immediately began searching the water and a police helicopter was also scrambled.

The Environment Agency was called in to cordon off the water to stop non-rescue boats from entering the area.

Fire teams found the child's body at about 1615 BST but paramedics were unable to revive him.

Further resuscitation attempts were carried out at Maidstone Hospital, but Alex was confirmed dead at 1728 BST, Kent Police said.

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