‘Miss­ing river lifebuoys in place 10 days be­fore death’

Western Mail - - NEWS -

LIFEBUOYS said to be miss­ing by the river Tawe on the night a teenager drowned were in place 10 days be­fore, an in­quest heard.

Swansea Coun­cil of­fi­cers told ju­rors at the city’s Civic Cen­tre that an in­spec­tion on May 18, 2015, con­firmed that two lifebuoys on the west bank of the river, ei­ther side of the up­per Tawe bridge, were present.

In the early hours of May 28 Alex Pavlou drowned in the Tawe af­ter a night out in Wind Street, al­though there is no ev­i­dence as to ex­actly where he en­tered the wa­ter.

An ear­lier hear­ing was told that his cries while in the river were heard by a passer-by, Andrew Dicks, whose ev­i­dence sug­gested that both lifebuoys near­est to the noise were miss­ing.

At yes­ter­day’s hear­ing it emerged that both these de­vices were ab­sent on Septem­ber 12 this year when ju­rors went to the river for a site visit.

Giv­ing ev­i­dence, coun­cil man­ager Jamie Rew­bridge, whose re­spon­si­bil­i­ties in­clude wa­ter safety, said there was no leg­is­la­tion un­der­pin­ning the pro­vi­sion and check­ing of res­cue aids.

He said the au­thor­ity car­ried out four-weekly checks, and en­sured that in­spec­tions were done a week be­fore school hol­i­days.

Mr Rew­bridge said both lifebuoys — one on a hook and the other in a case — were present on May 18 and that over the course of 2015 they were in place 37 times out of 42 in­spec­tions.

He added that across the county 115 res­cue aids were van­dalised or re­moved that year.

Asked by Ben Blake­more, coun­sel for Alex’s fam­ily, if the coun­cil could pre­vent van­dal­ism and mis­use of res­cue aids, he replied: “(No) Save for check­ing them ev­ery day, which is not prac­ti­cal.”

The in­quest con­tin­ues.

> Alex Pavlou

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