‘Missing river lifebuoys in place 10 days before death’
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