New life-saving throwlines installed close to scene of three drowning deaths at Fatfield

Two new pieces of lifesaving water safety equipment have been installed near the site where three people drowned in Washington.

Thursday, 6th February 2020, 2:29 pm

The two new throwline boards at Mount Pleasant Lake and Pattinson South Pond near Fatfield Bridge are in addition to an existing throwline board opposite the Biddick Inn at Fatfield riverside, which was installed after the death of 22-year-old Ross Irwin in December 2016.

Unlike traditional life buoys, which are vulnerable to theft and vandalism, throwlines are secured in a lockbox which can be opened with a code available by dialling 999 and speaking to the emergency services.

The new throwline board at Mount Pleasant Lake

Coun John Kelly, Portfolio Holder for Communities and Culture, said: "Sunderland has had an active Water Safety Partnership since 2015 working to raise awareness of the dangers of swimming in open water with an annual water safety programme. And we're always looking at what more we can do to improve.

"We're lucky enough to have some of the best beaches in the country and some very attractive parks and river banks, and we want everyone who visits them to have an enjoyable and safe time.”

Washington East ward councillor Fiona Miller, who chairs the Washington Place Board, added: "We don't want any more families to have to go through the devastating loss of their loved ones so I'm really pleased to see these boards installed by the City Council's Environmental Services, supported by Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service and ROSPA."

Assistant Chief Fire Officer Peter Heath commented: "Throwlines can make all the difference in helping to keep someone safe in the water once they’ve got into difficulty. We know the importance of quickly trying to reach someone who is in the water by either accident or their design.

Coun Fiona Miller, Coun Tony Taylor, TWFRS Assistant Chief Fire Officer Peter Heath, and firefighter Tommy Richardson, with the newly installed throwline at Mount Pleasant Lake

"As well as the chance of drowning, cold water shock can take the lives of anyone in the water – no matter what age, or fitness level. Therefore it’s essential to get people out of the water as soon as possible.”