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Call to close West Norfolk beauty spot after Wisbech man drowned

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The family of a Wisbech man who drowned at Bawsey Pits on Wednesday has launched a petition to get the beauty spot closed on the grounds it is dangerous.

Twenty-year-old Radek Gina was pronounced dead at the West Norfolk park despite valiant efforts by rescuers who pulled him from the waters of the former quarry and an off-duty paramedic who administered CPR.

There are signs around the park warning people of the dangers of swimming in the deep, cold, pits but with temperatures soaring on Wednesday many, including Radek, who was there with friends were tempted into the water.

Radek Gina sadly drowned at Bawsey Pits on Wednesday.
Radek Gina sadly drowned at Bawsey Pits on Wednesday.

Owners of Bawsey Pits issued yet another warning following Wednesday's tragedy telling people to stay out of the water.

This is the second such tragedy in a year. In August 2020, Kristers Bednarskis, from Peterborough, drowned while celebrating his 22nd birthday with friends at the local beauty spot.

Radek's grandmother who has launched the petition said on the Change.Org site: "On Wednesday, the 16th of June 2021 our grandson Radek tragically lost his life in the water at Bawsey Country Park Norfolk.

"There are signs to say don’t get into the water and old quarry and very dangerous, but this is not the first time that this has happened, The signs are clearly not working.

The family of a Wisbech man have launched a petition to close a local beauty spot. (48434455)
The family of a Wisbech man have launched a petition to close a local beauty spot. (48434455)

"Radek was just 20 years old just out enjoying an afternoon with his friends in the sunshine when they along with many others got into the water,.

"Radek and his friend both got into difficulty when some other friends realised and tried to help they got Radek's friend out and had to go back in for Radek.

"They did manage to get Radek to the shore line, where the emergency services were called and a passer-by who happened to be a paramedic started to do CPR.

There are signs up warning people not to swim in the pits, but the family says they are not working.
There are signs up warning people not to swim in the pits, but the family says they are not working.

"It took emergency services more than 25 minutes to be able to get to the scene as the grounds are not suitable for emergency vehicles.

"There is a park warden but they were nowhere around the park at the time. The park was closed years ago because it was unsafe and as far as we can tell nothing has changed since the reopening of the park.

In a statement issued after Wednesday tragedy the park said: “The owners and staff of Bawsey Country Park would like to offer their sincere condolences to the family and friends of the man who tragically lost his life at the park yesterday.

“We would also like to express our thanks and praise for all the emergency services who attended yesterday and worked tirelessly to deal with such an awful situation.

“Since we took on the park we have worked closely with the relevant authorities including the Police and the Fire Brigade in order to improve the safety of the park.

“The park rules, including the direction to stay out of the water, are clear all over the park, on our website and on our social media. We have greatly increased the safety signage around the park and ensured the signs are pictorial so that they are clear for visitors of all nationalities.

“We regularly update our social media with educational content to educate visitors as to the dangers of going into the water and why they should not do so.

“With the approval of the emergency services, we have recently installed six emergency throwlines and ID boards around the lakes.

“Our warden, park staff and catering vendors have all recently received basic training with Norfolk Fire and Rescue services.

“Our warden patrols the site daily and advises people to stay out of the water, and all our refreshment vendors are supplied with throw ropes in case of an emergency. We have created and improved access routes within the park for emergency vehicles.”

The statement concluded: “The loss of this young man’s life is yet another tragedy.

“We remain committed to improving the park and promoting its safe usage so that it can remain a beautiful natural site for local people to use safely and enjoy for many years to come, but we need our visitors to help us.

“We reiterate our plea for visitors to abide by the park rules and PLEASE STAY OUT OF THE WATER so that no future tragedies occur.”

Messages expressing shock at the tragedy were posted on Radek’s Facebook page one said: “Cannot believe the news I’m hearing tonight. Such a great lad. So young. So heart breaking. I urge everyone, DO NOT swim at Bawsey Pits, it’s so dangerous. Rest in peace Radek Gina you’ll be missed. My thoughts go out to his friends and family right now.”

Another described him as a “great young lad”.

It is clear from the posts that Radek enjoyed playing pool and snooker with one person saying: “Such a friendly guy, we will miss you at pool and snooker mate.”

While another added: “Never leave your friends without saying I love you or with a hug. Life is far to short. Fly high Radek Gina.”

Meanwhile friends and family visited the site and left floral tributes to Radek.

To sign the petition, which had well over 100 signatures within two hours, visit Change.org

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