Gullet Quarry - second death in just six days after tragic death of Russell O'Neill

Malvern Gazette: Gullet Quarry - emergency services at the scene today Gullet Quarry - emergency services at the scene today

A BODY has been pulled from a quarry - six days after the death of another man at the same spot.

The body of the man, aged in his 20s, was recovered shortly before 7pm from Gullet Quarry, Hollybush, near Welland after police received a 999 call at about 4.44pm.

The death comes just six days after the death of 17-year-old Russell O’Neill of Ronkswood, Worcester, at the same spot last Saturday.

An eyewitness who gave his first name as Laurence said he was at the lefthand side of the quarry and when the man got into difficulties in the water on the right side. Two young women were seen being taken from the scene by a police car in tears and police are understood to be speaking to the man’s sister, cousin and girlfriend who were present at the quarry at the time.

The man, who was with his girlfriend at the quarry, said: “He was in the water then he said ‘help!’ But he said it really calmly. Then he went under the water. I looked over to see if he needed help. I saw him come to the surface and he said ‘help’ again. He looked like he was swimming no problem, treading water. I thought he was messing around and I looked away and then, all of a sudden, a girl started screaming ‘he’s not come back up!’ and people started getting in the water to look for him. Three or four lads got in to try and help. If he had screamed help there would have been people straight in the water.”

He later saw around five boats from the fire and rescue service, three or four of them manned, as firefighters searched the water with poles.

Friends of Russell O’Neill including school friend Oliver Richards, aged 17, and Antonio Machado, 17, who all attended Blessed Edward Oldcorne Catholic College in Worcester together, were there to pay their respect to him on the day of the new tragedy.

Mr Richards, who described Mr O’Neill as one of his best friends, said: “I was coming to a vigil here tonight. I still can’t believe it. They should fill in the quarry, stop people going in there. They need to wake up. People were in there 24 hours after he died - it was disrespectful.”

His sister, 30-year-old Hazel Richards of Battenhall Road, Worcester, said: “It’s sad. People say “there’s signs up. People should pay attention”. They’re sat there in the sun, having a drink and egging each other on. They’re not going to pay any attention to the danger. I don’t see how many more lives have to be lost before something is done. A couple of signs is no good.”

Police cordoned off the immediate area and Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue Service deployed two boat crews to the scene along with a water first responder team. They recovered a body from the lake shortly before 7pm and death was confirmed at the scene.

Police officers were still speaking to witnesses this evening and an investigation has been launched into the circumstances.

Superintendent Ivan Powell of West Mercia Police said: “This latest death also appears to be a tragic accident and our thoughts are with the man’s family and friends.

“The shocking events of the past week bring into sharp focus the dangers of open water. Particularly in view of the current hot spell we would urge people not to go into rivers, lakes, ponds and canals to try to cool off.

“People need to recognise the risks associated with water and act responsibly. Bearing in mind that the summer holidays are fast approaching we would also ask parents to monitor where their children may be playing and also speak to them about the dangers.”

Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue Service Group Commander George Marshall added: “The water may look enticing but even on a hot day it can be extremely cold, leading to sudden cramp, and subject to strong currents which can catch out even the strongest of swimmers.

“There could also be obstacles and other debris hidden under the water which could trap or injure someone. Many pools and quarry lakes are also very deep and certainly not safe to swim in.”

Present at the scene were two ambulance crews, an advanced community paramedic in a rapid response vehicle, the Midlands Air Ambulance from Strensham and members of the Hazardous Area Response Team. Other emergency services also attended.

For John Woodhall, a water rescue specialist with West Midlands Ambulance Service, it was his second call to the quarry within a week. He said: “I’ve been here twice now. How many more people need to die before someone takes notice of our warnings of the dangers of swimming in open waters?”

Comments (21)

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10:47pm Fri 12 Jul 13

chrism says...

One important point which is very relevant to this tragic case is that drowning doesn't look like drowning. I'm not at all surprised by the eyewitness accounts - they describe exactly what drowning does look like. Here is an article describing the issue http://www.winnipegf
reepress.com/world/d
rowning-doesnt-look-
like-drowning-210736
971.html

I hope it isn't out of order to bring this up here - unlike debates about filling in the quarry, making people more aware of this might actually save somebody's life. I should also point out that I'm not criticising those who were there at all - the whole point is that to an untrained person it's very easy not to realise somebody is in trouble.
One important point which is very relevant to this tragic case is that drowning doesn't look like drowning. I'm not at all surprised by the eyewitness accounts - they describe exactly what drowning does look like. Here is an article describing the issue http://www.winnipegf reepress.com/world/d rowning-doesnt-look- like-drowning-210736 971.html I hope it isn't out of order to bring this up here - unlike debates about filling in the quarry, making people more aware of this might actually save somebody's life. I should also point out that I'm not criticising those who were there at all - the whole point is that to an untrained person it's very easy not to realise somebody is in trouble. chrism
  • Score: 1

12:30am Sat 13 Jul 13

lizzyloolah says...

I followed the link and can't believe this information isn't more widely publicised , chrism!!
It should, at the very least, be added to first aid training, as is how to spot a potential stroke victim etc. Invaluable!
I followed the link and can't believe this information isn't more widely publicised , chrism!! It should, at the very least, be added to first aid training, as is how to spot a potential stroke victim etc. Invaluable! lizzyloolah
  • Score: 0

3:10am Sat 13 Jul 13

Part Time Dave says...

As previously posted, this is awful, and if the public aren't put off by the signs or a death as recently as 6 days ago, it is time to drain and / or fill in the quarry.
As previously posted, this is awful, and if the public aren't put off by the signs or a death as recently as 6 days ago, it is time to drain and / or fill in the quarry. Part Time Dave
  • Score: 0

7:26am Sat 13 Jul 13

robby1234 says...

The quarry is a beautiful and scenic spot which some now want emptied just because of the foolish actions of a few.
There are warning signs about entering these freezing cold waters all over the area.
Over the years I've seen I've seen these idiots launching themselves off the cliff side into these waters. They know the risks but it's mostly bravado and showing off that gets these lads into trouble.
No way should the quarry be drained.
The quarry is a beautiful and scenic spot which some now want emptied just because of the foolish actions of a few. There are warning signs about entering these freezing cold waters all over the area. Over the years I've seen I've seen these idiots launching themselves off the cliff side into these waters. They know the risks but it's mostly bravado and showing off that gets these lads into trouble. No way should the quarry be drained. robby1234
  • Score: 0

7:53am Sat 13 Jul 13

luke4387 says...

I feel for the families of both individuals who have passed away. People are idiots though, after the first death you think people would learn!

I guarantee that the same idiotic people will continue to frequent the quarry though!
I feel for the families of both individuals who have passed away. People are idiots though, after the first death you think people would learn! I guarantee that the same idiotic people will continue to frequent the quarry though! luke4387
  • Score: 0

8:29am Sat 13 Jul 13

lizzyloolah says...

A quarry warden should be appointed immediately with the power to issue on the spot fines as they do with parking tickets. Not a solution, but a deterrent while it takes the various bodies however long to come to a decision on how to make the quarry safer.
A quarry warden should be appointed immediately with the power to issue on the spot fines as they do with parking tickets. Not a solution, but a deterrent while it takes the various bodies however long to come to a decision on how to make the quarry safer. lizzyloolah
  • Score: 0

9:35am Sat 13 Jul 13

Maggie Would says...

chrism wrote:
One important point which is very relevant to this tragic case is that drowning doesn't look like drowning. I'm not at all surprised by the eyewitness accounts - they describe exactly what drowning does look like. Here is an article describing the issue http://www.winnipegf

reepress.com/world/d

rowning-doesnt-look-

like-drowning-210736

971.html

I hope it isn't out of order to bring this up here - unlike debates about filling in the quarry, making people more aware of this might actually save somebody's life. I should also point out that I'm not criticising those who were there at all - the whole point is that to an untrained person it's very easy not to realise somebody is in trouble.
Having followed the link, it all seems obvious really. I agree that education is key.
[quote][p][bold]chrism[/bold] wrote: One important point which is very relevant to this tragic case is that drowning doesn't look like drowning. I'm not at all surprised by the eyewitness accounts - they describe exactly what drowning does look like. Here is an article describing the issue http://www.winnipegf reepress.com/world/d rowning-doesnt-look- like-drowning-210736 971.html I hope it isn't out of order to bring this up here - unlike debates about filling in the quarry, making people more aware of this might actually save somebody's life. I should also point out that I'm not criticising those who were there at all - the whole point is that to an untrained person it's very easy not to realise somebody is in trouble.[/p][/quote]Having followed the link, it all seems obvious really. I agree that education is key. Maggie Would
  • Score: 0

9:48am Sat 13 Jul 13

Neil RG says...

Are there warning signs there? If not, is it not a cheap, easy action to put up signs at all access points informing visitors that people have drowned in the pool?
Most or all would be deterred by that, surely? And it would impact on the environment far less than filling in / draining an attractive feature.
Are there warning signs there? If not, is it not a cheap, easy action to put up signs at all access points informing visitors that people have drowned in the pool? Most or all would be deterred by that, surely? And it would impact on the environment far less than filling in / draining an attractive feature. Neil RG
  • Score: 0

9:56am Sat 13 Jul 13

High Time says...

When are people going to wake and take responsibility for their own actions? If the signs say 'don't swim' there you don't swim there. Re the talk about draining the quarry, what about the other two deaths in the River Seven over the last week? Do we drain that as well? Treat water with respect and there would not be the tragic loss of young lives.
When are people going to wake and take responsibility for their own actions? If the signs say 'don't swim' there you don't swim there. Re the talk about draining the quarry, what about the other two deaths in the River Seven over the last week? Do we drain that as well? Treat water with respect and there would not be the tragic loss of young lives. High Time
  • Score: 0

11:03am Sat 13 Jul 13

rubalish says...

Hi ,
I nearly drowned as a young child in the River Severn .
.I can remember to this day not being able shout out . I remember is going down twice into this very murky water not able to struggle or call for help .
I would not be hear today if not for this man passing bye saw what was happening and pulled me out .
I was in a old raft on the pump house steps I felt so afraid when the swans were coming towards me I called the children I was with to pull me in with the chain attached to the raft they didn't I jumped missed the step I went under twice .
All I can remember was the dirty water it would have been all over in seconds !
Hi , I nearly drowned as a young child in the River Severn . .I can remember to this day not being able shout out . I remember is going down twice into this very murky water not able to struggle or call for help . I would not be hear today if not for this man passing bye saw what was happening and pulled me out . I was in a old raft on the pump house steps I felt so afraid when the swans were coming towards me I called the children I was with to pull me in with the chain attached to the raft they didn't I jumped missed the step I went under twice . All I can remember was the dirty water it would have been all over in seconds ! rubalish
  • Score: 0

11:08am Sat 13 Jul 13

rubalish says...

God bless those families who are suffering my thoughts are with them all .
You can not blame young kids I they do not see danger as we do .
R.I.P. God Bless you both!
God bless those families who are suffering my thoughts are with them all . You can not blame young kids I they do not see danger as we do . R.I.P. God Bless you both! rubalish
  • Score: 0

11:12am Sat 13 Jul 13

Wh1t3Kn1ght says...

High Time wrote:
When are people going to wake and take responsibility for their own actions? If the signs say 'don't swim' there you don't swim there. Re the talk about draining the quarry, what about the other two deaths in the River Seven over the last week? Do we drain that as well? Treat water with respect and there would not be the tragic loss of young lives.
Precisely @High Time, how far should safety measures go?

Slightly OT but I regularly cycle around our country lanes and cross a manned railway crossing. I am always careful to look both ways and listen for trains. But because of a few with no common sense who don't look or listen the crossing is now locked and you have to wait to be escorted across by the signalman. I've spoken with him and he says he has seen people with headphones one just walk straight across with out a single glance in either direction....

It really is tragic that someone has died again and sympathies to his friends and family. I'm sure anyone who goes there knows the risks and has heard that people have drowned but yet they still insist on jumping and/or swimming in the water. I've also seen people jumping in the rivers of our counties (Wye and Severn), perhaps we should fill the rivers with concrete to?? or perhaps not!
[quote][p][bold]High Time[/bold] wrote: When are people going to wake and take responsibility for their own actions? If the signs say 'don't swim' there you don't swim there. Re the talk about draining the quarry, what about the other two deaths in the River Seven over the last week? Do we drain that as well? Treat water with respect and there would not be the tragic loss of young lives.[/p][/quote]Precisely @High Time, how far should safety measures go? Slightly OT but I regularly cycle around our country lanes and cross a manned railway crossing. I am always careful to look both ways and listen for trains. But because of a few with no common sense who don't look or listen the crossing is now locked and you have to wait to be escorted across by the signalman. I've spoken with him and he says he has seen people with headphones one just walk straight across with out a single glance in either direction.... It really is tragic that someone has died again and sympathies to his friends and family. I'm sure anyone who goes there knows the risks and has heard that people have drowned but yet they still insist on jumping and/or swimming in the water. I've also seen people jumping in the rivers of our counties (Wye and Severn), perhaps we should fill the rivers with concrete to?? or perhaps not! Wh1t3Kn1ght
  • Score: 0

11:13am Sat 13 Jul 13

rubalish says...

chrism wrote:
One important point which is very relevant to this tragic case is that drowning doesn't look like drowning. I'm not at all surprised by the eyewitness accounts - they describe exactly what drowning does look like. Here is an article describing the issue http://www.winnipegf

reepress.com/world/d

rowning-doesnt-look-

like-drowning-210736

971.html

I hope it isn't out of order to bring this up here - unlike debates about filling in the quarry, making people more aware of this might actually save somebody's life. I should also point out that I'm not criticising those who were there at all - the whole point is that to an untrained person it's very easy not to realise somebody is in trouble.
I have just read this article I think it should be shown on T.V as a warning to let youngsters know the signs of what to look out for as they do with strokes !
[quote][p][bold]chrism[/bold] wrote: One important point which is very relevant to this tragic case is that drowning doesn't look like drowning. I'm not at all surprised by the eyewitness accounts - they describe exactly what drowning does look like. Here is an article describing the issue http://www.winnipegf reepress.com/world/d rowning-doesnt-look- like-drowning-210736 971.html I hope it isn't out of order to bring this up here - unlike debates about filling in the quarry, making people more aware of this might actually save somebody's life. I should also point out that I'm not criticising those who were there at all - the whole point is that to an untrained person it's very easy not to realise somebody is in trouble.[/p][/quote]I have just read this article I think it should be shown on T.V as a warning to let youngsters know the signs of what to look out for as they do with strokes ! rubalish
  • Score: 0

12:09pm Sat 13 Jul 13

reflector says...

Of course it's tragic that two lives have been lost needlessly and I haver a lot of sympathy for the family and friends directly affected.

But life is dangerous and it simply is not possible to protect people from themselves the whole time. The quarry has been there for many years and most people understand the signs and respect the dangers. Filling it in could be a solution but where do you stop? Fill in or fence off all pools, lakes and rivers? Just crossing the road is probably a bigger danger so should we fence off pavements as well?

No, by all means improve the signage but, really, you do have to place some reliance on people behaving sensibly and heeding the warnings. The tiny minority who won't, must understand that they are placing themselves in great danger, which is their choice but, worse still, are endangering those who have to try to rescue them.
Of course it's tragic that two lives have been lost needlessly and I haver a lot of sympathy for the family and friends directly affected. But life is dangerous and it simply is not possible to protect people from themselves the whole time. The quarry has been there for many years and most people understand the signs and respect the dangers. Filling it in could be a solution but where do you stop? Fill in or fence off all pools, lakes and rivers? Just crossing the road is probably a bigger danger so should we fence off pavements as well? No, by all means improve the signage but, really, you do have to place some reliance on people behaving sensibly and heeding the warnings. The tiny minority who won't, must understand that they are placing themselves in great danger, which is their choice but, worse still, are endangering those who have to try to rescue them. reflector
  • Score: 0

12:55pm Sat 13 Jul 13

Obolisk says...

Filling in the quarry isn't the answer as people will just go somewhere else unless every body of open water in the uk is to be filled in perhaps a greater police/conservator presence to enforce the rules would be a far better and cost effective way to deal with the problem without destroying the beauty of the quarry and also stop these kids drinking.
Filling in the quarry isn't the answer as people will just go somewhere else unless every body of open water in the uk is to be filled in perhaps a greater police/conservator presence to enforce the rules would be a far better and cost effective way to deal with the problem without destroying the beauty of the quarry and also stop these kids drinking. Obolisk
  • Score: 0

4:51pm Sat 13 Jul 13

nicki1967 says...

High Time wrote:
When are people going to wake and take responsibility for their own actions? If the signs say 'don't swim' there you don't swim there. Re the talk about draining the quarry, what about the other two deaths in the River Seven over the last week? Do we drain that as well? Treat water with respect and there would not be the tragic loss of young lives.
I totally agree. Much as I am sympathetic for the families involved, it is just takes a bit of common sense doesn't it. If there are warning signs that really should be good enough. Draining it is ridiculous. People get swept out to sea. Should we ask for that to be drained too?!
[quote][p][bold]High Time[/bold] wrote: When are people going to wake and take responsibility for their own actions? If the signs say 'don't swim' there you don't swim there. Re the talk about draining the quarry, what about the other two deaths in the River Seven over the last week? Do we drain that as well? Treat water with respect and there would not be the tragic loss of young lives.[/p][/quote]I totally agree. Much as I am sympathetic for the families involved, it is just takes a bit of common sense doesn't it. If there are warning signs that really should be good enough. Draining it is ridiculous. People get swept out to sea. Should we ask for that to be drained too?! nicki1967
  • Score: 0

11:11pm Sat 13 Jul 13

Geodude says...

Absolute tragic loss of life again....terrible news. In Derbyshire, a troublesome quarry was had the water dyed black to put people off and its worked. Maybe should do for the Gullet? Aesthetically will spoil this beauty spot, but the message has to get through. As a minimium, life bouys should be on hand to use to save lives. Gullet has none. But this say send the wrong message to would be swimmers.Draining the quarry isn't the answer as groundwater from the surrounding rocks will still discharge into the quarry void as it is a low point. Anyway, if drained cliff features will be left for people to fall into? Isn't this and heath and satety issue?
Absolute tragic loss of life again....terrible news. In Derbyshire, a troublesome quarry was had the water dyed black to put people off and its worked. Maybe should do for the Gullet? Aesthetically will spoil this beauty spot, but the message has to get through. As a minimium, life bouys should be on hand to use to save lives. Gullet has none. But this say send the wrong message to would be swimmers.Draining the quarry isn't the answer as groundwater from the surrounding rocks will still discharge into the quarry void as it is a low point. Anyway, if drained cliff features will be left for people to fall into? Isn't this and heath and satety issue? Geodude
  • Score: 0

2:02pm Sun 14 Jul 13

Densedog says...

In 1994 I almost drowned in the gullet quarry. A week before my 18th birthday. I jumped off the top being the big show off and landed square on my chest in the water. This shocked me and I panicked, I was a metre away from the rocks to grab but I swam towards the middle.
The water was bitterly cold despite the 32 degree temperature so this coupled with the impact was an almost fatal combination. I can still remember vividly going under the water and seeing my hand reaching for the surface.. A kind soul grabbed me and I unfortunately kicked him in instinctive reaction. Both of us ended up going to Worcester hospital via an air ambulance. I damaged all of my intercostals ( muscles between my ribs). This had a profound impact on my life and will always remember that feeling of being alone and helpless, drowning. People have free will, do what you wish but regardless of how strong a swimmer you are/ fitness level you would have been in the same position as I was. Common sense is a word mentioned a lot these days. But not many use it.
In 1994 I almost drowned in the gullet quarry. A week before my 18th birthday. I jumped off the top being the big show off and landed square on my chest in the water. This shocked me and I panicked, I was a metre away from the rocks to grab but I swam towards the middle. The water was bitterly cold despite the 32 degree temperature so this coupled with the impact was an almost fatal combination. I can still remember vividly going under the water and seeing my hand reaching for the surface.. A kind soul grabbed me and I unfortunately kicked him in instinctive reaction. Both of us ended up going to Worcester hospital via an air ambulance. I damaged all of my intercostals ( muscles between my ribs). This had a profound impact on my life and will always remember that feeling of being alone and helpless, drowning. People have free will, do what you wish but regardless of how strong a swimmer you are/ fitness level you would have been in the same position as I was. Common sense is a word mentioned a lot these days. But not many use it. Densedog
  • Score: 0

2:12am Mon 15 Jul 13

Emmabeth says...

Filling in the quarry, draining the quarry, these are both knee-jerk reactions to the tragic ACCIDENTS that have occurred.

If instead of publishing scaremongering waffle and unrealistic advice (sorry, it is hot, people ARE going to swim and short of filling in every river, pond, stream etc in the UK, this is not going to stop!), papers like this published USEFUL advice, lives actually may be saved.

1/ Open water is likely to be colder than you think, and quite a lot colder than your body is.
This means you MUST acclimatise your body slowly to the water - sit in the shallows, let your body adjust, do not dive in suddenly!

2/Swimming is physically more demanding than you may think - build up to long swims gradually, take regular breaks.

3/Swimming in an efficient and effective way needs tuition - LEARN how to swim properly.

4/Swimming in open water carries different risks to swimming indoors. Appreciate that the depths may change suddenly, that there may be hidden objects under the surface, the bottom may hold concealed items like glass, metal, rope, netting, rocks etc.

5/Do not swim under the influence of alcohol or drugs. These will impair your judgement of your abilities, of distances, of current in rivers or sea.

6/Do not dive from rocks or cliffs - it may look like fun, but hitting the water hard at the wrong angle can break bones, including your neck!

7/Swim with a buddy rather than alone.

8/Learn the simple techniques necessary to swim whilst towing a person on their back.


This information is really common sense, and by following it I have enjoyed many years of safe, sensible, fun, outdoor swimming.
Filling in the quarry, draining the quarry, these are both knee-jerk reactions to the tragic ACCIDENTS that have occurred. If instead of publishing scaremongering waffle and unrealistic advice (sorry, it is hot, people ARE going to swim and short of filling in every river, pond, stream etc in the UK, this is not going to stop!), papers like this published USEFUL advice, lives actually may be saved. 1/ Open water is likely to be colder than you think, and quite a lot colder than your body is. This means you MUST acclimatise your body slowly to the water - sit in the shallows, let your body adjust, do not dive in suddenly! 2/Swimming is physically more demanding than you may think - build up to long swims gradually, take regular breaks. 3/Swimming in an efficient and effective way needs tuition - LEARN how to swim properly. 4/Swimming in open water carries different risks to swimming indoors. Appreciate that the depths may change suddenly, that there may be hidden objects under the surface, the bottom may hold concealed items like glass, metal, rope, netting, rocks etc. 5/Do not swim under the influence of alcohol or drugs. These will impair your judgement of your abilities, of distances, of current in rivers or sea. 6/Do not dive from rocks or cliffs - it may look like fun, but hitting the water hard at the wrong angle can break bones, including your neck! 7/Swim with a buddy rather than alone. 8/Learn the simple techniques necessary to swim whilst towing a person on their back. This information is really common sense, and by following it I have enjoyed many years of safe, sensible, fun, outdoor swimming. Emmabeth
  • Score: 0

2:16am Mon 15 Jul 13

Emmabeth says...

I notice elsewhere in the paper there was a fatal quadbike accident in Malvern last night.

Precisely ZERO people are calling for quadbikes to be banned though!
I notice elsewhere in the paper there was a fatal quadbike accident in Malvern last night. Precisely ZERO people are calling for quadbikes to be banned though! Emmabeth
  • Score: 0

12:06pm Mon 15 Jul 13

Fishy says...

High Time wrote:
When are people going to wake and take responsibility for their own actions? If the signs say 'don't swim' there you don't swim there. Re the talk about draining the quarry, what about the other two deaths in the River Seven over the last week? Do we drain that as well? Treat water with respect and there would not be the tragic loss of young lives.
Quite right - why should the quarry be spoilt for everyone just because of a few idiots who ignore the warnings.
[quote][p][bold]High Time[/bold] wrote: When are people going to wake and take responsibility for their own actions? If the signs say 'don't swim' there you don't swim there. Re the talk about draining the quarry, what about the other two deaths in the River Seven over the last week? Do we drain that as well? Treat water with respect and there would not be the tragic loss of young lives.[/p][/quote]Quite right - why should the quarry be spoilt for everyone just because of a few idiots who ignore the warnings. Fishy
  • Score: 0

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