Matthew Joseph died after getting into difficulties in Coniston Water

Matthew Joseph died after getting into difficulties in Coniston Water

National park rangers are urging people to use commonsense when going wild swimming, following the death of a man in Coniston Water at the weekend.

Matthew Joseph, 21, of Romford in Essex, was pulled from the lake by members of the public after getting into difficulties on Sunday, but died after being airlifted to Royal Preston Hospital.

The Lake District National Park Authority said lakes, rivers and tarns have become hotspots for cooling off during the recent hot spell.

Ranger Sara Spicer said huge numbers were getting pleasure from the cool waters, and added that keeping safe was ‘not much more than common sense’.

She said: “We actively support and promote open-water swimming in our world-renowned lakes and tarns.

“It’s a fantastic way to enjoy the summer, scenery and be active into the bargain.

“Following the weekend’s sad fatality on Coniston Water, anyone taking the plunge should be mindful of a few tips, which will help keep them from harm’s way.”

Ms Spicer said it was important to walk slowly into any open water, which can shelf steeply, rather than jumping in.

“Even if the top surface is warm, you quickly get down to extremely cold and potentially dangerous icy cold conditions,” she said. “This ‘thermocline barrier’ is particularly risky when people are hot.

“It’s like plunging into a bath of ice and the body can momentarily close down; you can’t move muscles or breathe, and that’s when panic can set in.

“Swimming is a fantastic way to cool down and have a great time. We would just say keep to the shoreline, don’t go out alone and have some type of safety support, ideally a canoe or small boat.

“Wearing a brightly coloured hat is a good idea, particularly on the busier lakes, and people should never swim after eating or drinking alcohol.”

More water-safety advice is available to download from the Lake District national park website.

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