Family of man who died at quarry plead with people not to swim
- Credit: Violet Cunningham/Facebook
The family of a young man who drowned at a former quarry have pleaded with people to stop swimming there after dozens were seen in the water.
Radek Gina's loved ones say they are desperate to prevent another tragedy at Bawsey Country Park, also known as Bawsey Pits, near King's Lynn.
The 20-year-old, from Wisbech, died last month after getting into difficulty in one of the beauty spot's lakes.
While the flooded sand quarry may look inviting, temperatures plunge sharply in deeper areas - putting swimmers at risk of cold water shock.
And yet, despite four tragedies in the last decade, visitors continue to ignore warning signs telling them to stay ashore.
Violet Cunningham, Mr Gina's aunt, went to Bawsey on Saturday and said it was "mind-blowing" to see such blatant disregard for the rules.
"I felt physically sick when I went down there," she added.
"It is gut-wrenching for us. It has only been a month since Radek died and it’s like it never happened.
“There were three wardens and everybody was walking past them in their swimming costumes with armbands and rubber rings. If people are not going there to swim, what are they doing?
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"Instead of just saying 'no swimming', the park needs to make sure it happens.
"We are not trying to be killjoys. We just don’t want this to happen to anyone else."
It was a similar story at Bawsey on Sunday, when visitors enjoying the weekend sun took a dip to cool off.
Several swimmers dared to venture towards the middle of the largest lake.
Mr Gina was the second person to lose their life at the pits within the space of just 12 months.
Last August, Kristers Bednarskis, 22, died after slipping off an inflatable mattress which had drifted far away from the shore.
Bawsey Country Park said it maintains its existing policy of "no swimming, no paddling", and would continue to promote water safety through its 'Our Stay Safe Summer' campaign.
A spokesman added: "People ignore signs to stay out of the water all over the country.
"Our extensive signage includes universally recognisable warning symbols, and our multilingual website, leaflets and park warden promote the same messages.
"We will continue to ask people to respect our rules and stay out of the water at Bawsey."
Play it Safe, Be Water Aware
Pleas to stay out of the water at Bawsey come as this newspaper launched its own safety campaign.
'Play It Safe' urges people to enjoy the county's lakes, rivers and seas safely and responsibly.
The Royal Life Saving Society (RLSS) has warned there could be a steep increase in water-related deaths this year, with families expected to flock to waterways across the UK as they opt for staycations due to Covid travel restrictions.
Many people - especially children - have missed vital swimming lessons and sessions due to lockdown, leaving them unprepared.
Swimmers in difficulty are encouraged to follow the RNLI's 'Float To Live' points:
- Fight your instinct to thrash around
- Lean back, extend your arms and legs
- Gently move your arms and legs to help you float if you need to
- Float until you can control your breathing
- Only then call for help or swim to safety
To order a campaign poster, visit norfolkstore.co.uk.