River death boy was on Beaver Scout outing

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The Independent Online

A six-year-old boy died after falling into a river while on an organised Beaver Scout outing, it was revealed today.

The youngster was pulled from the water in Sudbury, Suffolk, just before 7.30pm yesterday, police said.

He was a Beaver Scout who belonged to the 1st Acton and Waldingfield Scout Group in Suffolk, a Scout Association spokesman said.

The boy was taken to the West Suffolk Hospital in nearby Bury St Edmunds but died a few hours later.

Police said they were treating his death as unexplained while they investigate how he came to be in the river.

The youngster was part of a group of Beavers, aged between six and eight, taking part in a supervised walk along the riverbank last night.

It is believed there were between 15 and 20 children and adults in the party.

Under normal Scouting rules there would be four or five adults in a group this size.

The Scout Association spokesman said: "They have done this walk a few times before along the side of the river bank - it is something they do of a summer evening.

"Unfortunately the young person fell in and drowned.

"The question of how the young person ended up in the water is part of an investigation by the local authorities and by us."

Police said the boy was from the local area, although he has not been named.

The Scout Association spokesman could not confirm how many adults were in the group.

He said: "We will launch an inquiry of our own to establish that our rules were followed, and to establish if there are any lessons to be learned for the future."

It was "extremely rare" for a tragedy like this to occur on a Scouting trip, he added.

Scouting officials will offer support such as counselling to the boy's parents.

The flowers were laid at the end of a bridge which runs over the River Stour. The bridge is around 10ft wide and has metal railings and seats running along on either side. It stands about 20ft above the fast-flowing river, which is about 50ft wide.