Boy's body found in river as second teen 'critical'

Ovingham Bridge in Northumberland
The boys got into difficulty in the River Tyne near Ovingham Bridge at 15:30 BST on Saturday [BBC]

A 14-year-old boy has died and a 13-year-old boy is in a critical condition after they got into difficulty in a river, police said.

The older boy's body was found after an extensive search in the River Tyne near Ovingham Bridge, Northumberland.

The younger child was rescued from the water on Saturday afternoon and taken to hospital where he remains, Northumbria Police added.

The parents of both boys are being supported by specially trained officers, the force said.

Ch Supt Helena Barron said: "This is an absolutely tragic incident and our thoughts are with the families of both boys at this difficult time as we continue to support them.

"A number of agencies were involved in the incident and their support was hugely appreciated.

"It is with great sadness that we could not provide a more positive update."

Police search at Ovingham on Saturday
Several teams were involved in Saturday's search [NORTH NEWS AND PICTURES]

Emergency services were deployed at about 15:30 BST due to concerns for the welfare of two teenage boys who were seen in the river near the bridge.

Fire crews joined those from North East Ambulance Service, Great North Air Ambulance (GNAAS) and Northumbria Police in the search.

GNAAS said staff "worked with the North East Ambulance Service to treat a patient before accompanying them to hospital".

A statement from Northumbria Police said: "A number of organisations conducted a thorough search of the area in a bid to locate the second boy.

"Sadly, the 14-year-old's body was later found in the water and he was pronounced dead at the scene."

Sign saying: Warning the river is dangerous for bathing
Warning signs had been placed on the banks of the River Tyne near the bridge [BBC]

Robert Hattersley, 13, from Crawcrook, Gateshead, died after getting into difficulty in the Tyne near Ovingham in July 2022.

His dad Carl, who set up a foundation in his son's name to raise awareness of the dangers of open water swimming, said his thoughts were with the boys' families.

"It brought back memories about what happened to our son and what we went through," he said.

"We want to send our condolences to the family that have lost their young lad, to give them our love and support.

"If they want they can get in touch with a phone call because we know what it's like to lose a little boy."

Robert Hattersley wearing a graduation cap
Robert Hattersley, 13, died after getting into difficulty in the river near Ovingham in 2022 [Family handout]

Mr Hattersley said he wanted to raise awareness of the dangers of open water swimming in schools.

"Let's get people aware, of all ages, like these young teenagers," he said.

"If they're not from around here they might not know the dangers of Northumberland's rivers because it's quite dangerous and strong because of the current."

Forensics crews near a swing on Sunday morning
Investigators at the scene on Sunday morning [NORTH NEWS AND PICTURES]

Forensics teams were carrying out investigations work near a swing on the river bank.

Local councillor Angie Scott, who got into difficulty swimming further up the river as a teenager, said the community was "shocked and devastated" at another death.

"In some parts of the river it looks really calm and it looks quite safe to swim, but the river has an undercurrent and its really quite strong," she said.

"It looks very inviting but its really dangerous to swim in."

She said when she was 14 years old, she had gone swimming with friends without her parents' knowledge.

"We were in the rapids and I got sucked under," she said.

"My friend had to pull me out and it was a terrible experience I will never forget," the Labour representative for Prudhoe North recalled.

Councillor Angie Scott
Councillor Angie Scott said she got into difficulty further up the river as a teenager and was rescued by a friend [BBC]

She said she wanted to see more safety equipment nearby.

"I also want to push the fact that we need to talk to our young people about river safety, " Ms Scott added.

"Education comes from home and we really need to talk to our young."

Additional reporting by PA Media.

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