River rescue in Durham averts fourth tragedy


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A student was rescued yesterday from a river that has claimed the lives of three undergraduates in the past 16 months.

Police and firefighters formed a human chain to pull the student from the River Wear in Durham after a passer-by heard his cries for help. He was later treated for hypothermia.

The rescue came just two days after a range of safety measures were announced, including an independent review of riverside safety by Durham University, the county council and other organisations.

Safety measures were announced shortly after the death of Euan Coulthard, 19, whose body was found last week. He is believed to have fallen into the river after a night out in the city. Inquests on two other students who died in the river – Sope Peters, 20, in October 2013 and Luke Pearce, 19, in May 2014 – concluded they fell in after drinking with friends.

A Durham University spokeswoman said after yesterday’s rescue that a tragedy had been averted and expressed gratitude to the emergency services and the passer-by. All students at the university are to be warned to be careful by the river.

Durham Police said: “It is believed the student had consumed a large amount of alcohol.”