A youth of 17 has been drowned in a swollen river during a college field trip through an 80ft gorge. Jason Dalton, a student at Ystrad Mynach College, was with a group of seven people on a confidence-boosting course at Craig-y-Ddina Forest Park at Pontneddfechan, near Neath, south Wales.
Jason and three other youths jumped into the river for a dip. The others got out but Jason was swept away. He was found 100 yards away by other outdoor pursuits leaders who pulled him ashore, but he died on the way to hospital. Police and health and safety officials are investigating.
Bryn Davies, the principal of the college, said the course, which can last up to 12 weeks, was designed to "instill self-belief and motivation" for youngsters aged 16 to 18 who are not sure what career they want to follow. Jason had started the course on Monday.
Mr Davies said the seven had been in the company of a fully qualified tutor. "Our concerns are with the families, particularly with Jason's," he said. "It is a tragic time for them and it has affected people at the college as well." Three years ago, an experienced outdoors instructor drowned after being caught in flood waters in the same area. Kevin Viney, a Bargoed county borough councillor, said: "I have seen the river and it's a raging torrent after rain. I feel extremely sorry for the family."
Earlier this week, a 17-year-old schoolgirl, Amy Ransom, fell to her death after slipping on a mountain path during a trekking trip in Vietnam.
She was with other pupils from Wycombe High School in Buckinghamshire on an expedition organised by World Challenge Expeditions, which runs adventure trips for thousands of youngsters every year.
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