Stoke & Staffordshire

Stoke-on-Trent lake death: Boys tried to save Ryan Evans

Ryan Evans Image copyright Haywood Academy
Image caption Ryan's father Glenn said he did not know his son was planning to swim in the lake and would not have allowed it

Two boys tried to save their friend from drowning in a lake by putting him on their backs, an inquest has heard.

Ryan Evans' body was found in Westport Lake, Stoke-on-Trent, in June, days after he and the friends were seen "in distress" while swimming.

The boys, who kept sinking as they tried to save Ryan, saw him going under the water and are still affected by it, the inquest heard.

A verdict of accidental death was recorded.

Ryan's father Glynn said his son was a competent, but not strong swimmer.

He and several friends had arranged to go to the lake after school on 25 June, during the summer heat wave.

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Image copyright Staffordshire Fire Service
Image caption The friends shouted for help as they struggled to reach safety, the hearing was told

The last time his father said he saw him was 15:45 BST when he told him to be back for tea at 18:00.

Mr Evans said he did not know his son was planning to swim and would not have allowed it.

The friends stripped to their boxer shorts and went into the lake to attempt to cross it.

Det Con Matthew Jones from Staffordshire Police said all three got into difficulty.

Image caption Hundreds of people attended vigil at the lake after Ryan's death

Ryan's two friends, aged 12 and 13 and who cannot be named, were left "extremely distressed" by what happened, the inquest heard.

The Haywood Academy pupil's body was spotted from a helicopter two days later.

After revisiting the lake recently and following the path the group took, Det Con Jones said there were no warning signs until you reached a fishing area.

Image caption Balloons, flowers and cards were left at the scene after his death

Stoke-on-Trent City Council has said there are of signs at strategic entrance points, the inquest heard.

Recording his verdict, coroner Ian Smith said: "Tragedy is an overused word, but this really is a tragedy.

"It is a case of three or more young lads beginning to find their feet in the world, gaining their independence, not understanding the dangers of such water.

"They were not capable of swimming across the lake. They thought they were."

Ryan's relatives said they had been "overwhelmed" with messages of support after his death.

More than £18,000 in online donations has been collected for the family.

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