Curtis Atherton, 16, who died after getting into difficulties in the water at High Force

Curtis Atherton, 16, who died after getting into difficulties in the water at High Force

Police have named the 16-year-old who died after getting into difficulties swimming at a North Pennines beauty spot.

Hartlepool teenager Curtis Atherton was swimming with his brothers and friends in the pool below High Force waterfall on Tuesday evening.

The alarm was raised at 8pm and police, fire crews, a police helicopter and members of Teesdale and Weardale Search and Mountain Rescue Team went to the scene next to the Pennine Way in Upper Teesdale.

The teenager was found in the water about 1¾ hours later and airlifted to James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough, but died after arrival.

Detective Inspector Andy Crowe said: “This is a devastating incident and a stark reminder of how a fun afternoon swimming with friends can end in tragedy.

“My advice is simple: do not swim in open stretches of water such as this as the dangers are often well hidden.

“As well as the deceptively cold water temperatures which affect people’s ability to swim, there are many hidden hazards lying beneath, such as strong currents and discarded rubbish or rocks.

“Curtis’s family would like to thank everyone involved in the efforts to locate Curtis yesterday evening.”

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