Environment

Body of man recovered from Hampstead Ponds after person seen in difficulties earlier

London Fire Brigade surface rescue units unable to locate young man in difficulties. Image: @LondonFire

London Fire Brigade surface rescue units unable to locate young man in difficulties. Image: @LondonFire

The Met Police Marine Policing Unit (MPU) has recovered the body of a man from Hampstead Ponds late last night.

Emergency  services had been called to reports of a young man, believed to be in his late teens, seen in difficulty yesterday evening.

Three fire engines & three fire rescue units and around 30 firefighters from the London Fire Brigade attended following the reported sighting of a man under the water at the bathing pond on Hampstead Heath.

Station Manager Sam Kazmanli, who was at the scene said:

Firefighters used three boats on the pond and carried out a methodical search. Despite our best efforts we were unable to locate the man and have handed the incident over to the police.

The London Ambulance Service was also at the scene.

Specialist officers from the Met Police MPU  attended and shortly before 11 pm ‘the body of a male was recovered from the water.’

The Coroner has been informed.

Yesterday was the hottest day of the year so far, with a temperature  of 25C (77F) recorded in London.

London’s Tower Bridge RNLI was called out to reports of two men swimming in the River Thames at Westminster Bridge:

To mark the start of the first ever Drowning Prevention and Water Safety Week, The London Fire Brigade has been highlighting the hidden risks of rivers, lakes and canals.

The London Fire Brigade has been running a Drowning Prevention campaign this week. Image: @LondonFire

The London Fire Brigade has been running a Drowning Prevention campaign this week. Image: @LondonFire

Assistant Commissioner, Peter Cowup, said:

Rivers, lakes and canals may look inviting, especially on a hot day and after a drink, but it’s important to realise that open water has hidden dangers that can hurt you and at worse, kill you.

People often aren’t aware of the effect cold water shock can have on their ability to swim in open water. It can not only affect a person’s breathing, but also their ability to move their muscles.

Some moving water can look calm, but it may have strong currents below the surface which can leave even the strongest swimmers in danger.

He added:

As the weather gets warmer, young people especially need to think about their behaviour around water and also look out for their friends. We understand the water can be great fun and we don’t want to stop people enjoying it, but it’s important to be aware of the risks.

Update 17th April 2015

The young man who died in this incident has been named as Moses Grunfeld.

Mr Grunfeld was an Orthodox scholar who had recently returned home to London from his studies in New York City.

His family paid tribute to him and described him as ‘a wonderful young man’ who loved to help others.

An inquest is to be held by the Hackney Coroner.

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