Six drown on hottest weekend

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The Independent Online
THE HOTTEST weekend of the year is thought to have claimed the lives of at least six people who drowned while cooling down in water.

The temperature, which soared to 27C for the second day running yesterday, was blamed for a number of fatalities across the country.

Graham Mapp, 44, from Kidderminster, drowned after attempting to swim across the River Severn in Worcestershire. His friend, who also entered the water near the Mug House pub in Bewdley shortly before midnight on Saturday, is also feared dead.

A police spokesman said the two men seemed to be in difficulty and two fishermen dived in to try to rescue them. Mr Mapp was dragged to the shore, but the other man disappeared. The spokesman said: "Two members of the public tried to resuscitate him, but despite their best efforts and those of paramedics and staff at the hospital, he died."

An engaged Army captain died in intensive care 24 hours after falling from a bridge while out celebrating his 25th birthday. Captain Mark Crofts drowned when he ran into trouble swimming in the River Medway, in Maidstone, just after midnight on Friday.

Captain Crofts, who was off duty at the time, was from the nearby Invicta Park Barracks where two Gurkhas killed clearing bombs from Kosovo were also stationed. His death is therefore the third tragedy to hit the base in three weeks.

In a separate incident a river search failed to find a 16-year-old boy who was last seen having difficulty swimming in the River Stour, in Dorset. The teenager from Blandford, in Dorset, who has not been named, is feared dead.

A 24-year-old man from Porth, Rhondda, South Wales, drowned yesterday after diving into the River Ogwr, in Mid Glamorgan, South Wales. In Norfolk, a 64-year-old windsurfer was found dead on the Broads yesterday. John Goldie, from Hellesdon, in Norwich, was found lying face down behind a moored boat in Hickling Broad, Norfolk, by a 15-year-old windsurfer.

Thousands headed for the coast yesterday, but some were surprised to be confronted by "full-up" signs advising them to stay away. Police at Camber Sands, near Hastings, in Sussex, put up the signs telling people that there was no room in the village or on the beach.

The heatwave caused jams on roads around the country, particularly on the coastal routes around Brighton, Scarborough and Clacton.