A stark warning has been issued after a man on a drinking party almost drowned when he fell into Whitby Harbour – the third incident
in the past few weeks.
The alert follows the tragic death of Neil Laity who drowned while swimming in the harbour at 5am on 8 May, despite desperate efforts to save him.
In another incident, a woman jumped into the harbour trying to evade police on May 11, and was pulled out by the crew from a fishing boat.
Sergeant Martin Mclachlan of Whitby police said: “This latest incident could also have had tragic consequences if it had not been for the prompt actions of the police officers.”
The latest Whitby Harbour incident happened at around 2am on Sunday when the man from Cumbria, who had been on a drinking party with a group of friends, toppled into the water almost opposite The Angel Hotel.
One of his friends jumped in after him but by the time a coastguard team, police and paramedics arrived, the man was unresponsive and his friend who was also in the water, was very cold and unable to bring him up a ladder to safety.
The casualty is his early 20s, claimed he had been looking at the boats but was thought to be very drunk, and was put in a survival bag by coastguard members to warm him up.
He eventually regained consciousness and was taken to Scarborough Hospital for treatment.
Whitby Coastguard station office Nathan Brown said: “He could quite easily have drowned and died.
“He had been vomiting and had fallen into the harbour. When we got there he was in a bad way and was unresponsive and had been in the water for five to 10 minutes. He was unconscious and hypothermic.
“He was lucky his mate was there.”
Sgt Mclachlan added: “This incident follows closely after the incident when a man tragically lost his life in the harbour at Whitby.
“This latest incident could also have had tragic consequences if it had not been for the prompt actions of the police officers attending.
“While the harbour waters may appear calm and flat, it is still extremely dangerous to enter those waters. In places there are strong under surface currents.
“Even on a hot summer’s day the water remains extremely cold and the effects of early hypothermia will soon set in.
“Clothing becomes waterlogged and heavy and this coupled with the cold will rapidly leave even the fittest of individuals succumbing to total exhaustion.”
Borough harbour master, Ian Vasey said the “unfortunate incident” serves to remind us all that care and caution must always be taken when walking around the harbour area.
“We appreciate many people, both visitors to the town and local residents, like to take an interest in the comings and goings of a working harbour,” he added.
“While this is all part of the charm of Whitby, we would urge everyone to adopt a common sense approach when near the waters’ edge and advise keeping a safe distance from the edge of the harbour, piers and wharf.”