Teenager dies in waterfall swimming accident

Boy was 'some distance from the bank' when he was found

High Force waterfall in Teesdale
High Force waterfall in Teesdale

A 16-year-old boy has died after getting into difficulty while swimming with friends below a picturesque waterfall.

A major rescue operation was launched at High Force in Teesdale, County Durham, at 8pm on Tuesday.

Durham Police said the teenager was found at 9.45pm and taken to the James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough, where he died.

Five other teenagers - three boys and two girls - who had been with him were uninjured.

The boy was from Hartlepool, Durham Police said, and was swimming in the large, deep pool below the waterfall.

High Force is popular with visitors and can be spectacular with water flowing down the River Tees dropping around 70ft (21m).

Police, fire crews, air support and mountain rescue specialists joined the search of the river.

Peter Bell, of Teesdale and Weardale Search and Mountain Rescue Team, told the Northern Echo the boy was "some distance from the bank" when he was found.

The water levels were not exceptionally high for the time of year but nor were they low, Mr Bell said.

He warned of the dangers of swimming in cold water, telling the newspaper: "Even the best swimmers can get affected by cold water shock."

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