A mountain rescue team leader has warned people of the dangers of water as a six-and-a-half-hour search operation was unable to save a man who got into difficulty in the River Eden.
Officers received a report of concern for the welfare and that a man fell into the water while out in a boat at 3.21pm on Saturday.
Despite the efforts of firefighters, police, Penrith Mountain Rescue Team, paramedics and a coastguard helicopter, the man was unfortunately pronounced dead at the scene.
“We were called at 3.50pm and we searched for quite a while,” said Peter King, Penrith Mountain Rescue team leader, who was involved in the operation.
“By dusk, the divers were on their way and the fire service left things to us to free them up for other incidents.
“We were then waiting around for the dive team to arrive and the divers found him after about half an hour.
“They found him and brought him to the surface.”
Peter said the incident involved a group of four who were paddling from Langwathby to Armathwaite on a little inflatable boat.
The man who sadly died in the incident was reported to have been “clinging” onto the back of the boat as it travelled downstream.
“During the previous weekend, the fire service had their water awareness campaign that we had shared. It is such a shame.”
Peter has warned of the dangers of water.
“People should be incredibly careful. Water can be dangerous, especially fast-moving water. You’ve got to be really careful, you really need to know what you are doing and have the correct personal protective equipment,” he said.
“You can go into the river and it could be between 14 and 20 degrees on the surface but underwater it can be substantially lower than that.
“Water can be an incredibly dangerous place.”
A Penrith Mountain Rescue Team statement said: “Our deepest condolences are with the family and friends of the gentleman.”