Aire and Calder Navigation death: Police name 16-year-old boy who died in Wakefield canal as they issue urgent warning

Police have named a 16-year-old boy whose body was found in a West Yorkshire canal as they issue an urgent safety warning.
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Emergency services were called to the Aire and Calder Navigation, near Southern Washlands, on Monday afternoon.

They had received a report of a teenager in trouble in the water.

Following a search of the water, a body was found.

Alfie McCraw, 16, whose body was found in a canal near Southern Washlands, WakefieldAlfie McCraw, 16, whose body was found in a canal near Southern Washlands, Wakefield
Alfie McCraw, 16, whose body was found in a canal near Southern Washlands, Wakefield
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Police have named the body as that of Alfie McCraw, of Wakefield, who had just finished his GCSEs.

Specially trained officers are supporting Alfie's family and the police have issued a warning about the dangers of swimming in open water.

Superintendent Nick Smart, of Wakefield District, said: "This was an extremely tragic incident which has resulted in the loss of the life of a boy who had just finished his GCSEs.

"We have specially trained officers who are supporting Alfie’s family at this unimaginably awful time.

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“We are working with the Canal & River Trust to deliver some inputs into schools before they break up for the holidays to warn of the dangers of open water swimming, but we need everyone to help us in spreading this message.

“The weather is forecast to get even hotter over the weekend and into next week, but we would urge people to not be tempted to cool off in open water, unless it is a supervised area intended for swimming.

“Even in the summer months, open water can be very cold. Anyone entering cold water suddenly is susceptible to hyperventilation, which can result in the body going into seizure.

“There can also be hidden currents and unseen dangers such as mud banks or items under the water which a swimmer can become caught on.”

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Wakefield District Station Commander Jimmy Fitt added: “This is a truly tragic incident and our thoughts go out to all Alfie’s loved ones.

“When the warm weather comes around, we do see a spike in the number of people entering water – and this can unfortunately prove fatal.

“Our advice is to not go into any area of water that isn’t supervised - as the pull of water, cold water shock and hidden dangers can mean even strong swimmers get into difficulty.

“We need people of all ages to be aware of the risks – we know when it’s warm it’s tempting to get into the water, but you must only do it in safe designated areas or the consequences can be fatal.”