15 year old Hussain Mohammed died at Donnington Bridge last night after jumping into the river with a friend at about 8.30pm.
Mohammed jumped from the bridge into the Thames but did not resurface causing onlookers to follow him into the water to look for him.
The emergency services were called and an extensive search made of the river and surrounding area. Police, ambulances, and the fire service were at the scene and a crowd of onlookers gathered on the bridge. The fire service recovered his body from the water at 10.20pm. He was taken to the John Radcliffe Hospital where he was pronounced dead.
A rescue boat and specialist fire and rescue teams were sent to the incident by the emergency services and one rescue worker, Simon Belcher, noted, “When crews arrived there were several people in the water bravely trying to rescue [him].”
A spokesman for South Central Ambulance Service said that two people, including Mohammed, had been taken to hospital while a third was treated at the scene for minor injuries.
Thames Valley Police has appealed for witnesses and stated, “The incident is not being treated as suspicious, however it is essential that we understand as fully as possible the events leading up to the tragic death of this young man.”
Detective Inspector Rob France, the officer in charge of the case, warned against jumping into the Thames, saying, “while it might be tempting to jump into the river during this hot weather, there are hidden dangers under the water and so we would advise against doing so.”
Racing on the river for Summer Eights went ahead this morning although a minutes silence was observed by spectators and rowers before the event began. Oxford University Rowing Club tweeted, “We just observed a minute of silence for the tragic event that happened last night. Our hearts go out to the family affected.”
Spectators were warned to be respectful of the incident with one JCR receiving the message, “If you intend to spectate at Summer Eights today you are advised not to go beyond the bung lines…Please keep all noise, cheering and chanting to an absolute minimum as a matter of respect.”
Lincoln rowers were told, “This morning we had an emergency Captain’s Meeting to discuss some events that occurred yesterday evening. Last night an individual fell from Donnington Bridge into the water, and despite the best efforts of the OURCs committee and polemen, lost their life. The police reopened the river this morning, and racing will continue.”
The email went on to ask participants to be quiet around the bridge, to not celebrate bumps until past ‘The Gut’ section of the river, and finished, “There must be NO throwing in of coxes in the river. Likewise, there must be no jumping in by crews. This is strictly forbidden by the authorities, and in bad taste given the events of last night. If you see others in the water, please discourage them.
“While no one wants to detract from your enjoyment of Summer VIIIs, this situation calls for understanding and respect.”
Brasenose JCR received similar instructions, stating, “Everyone should definitely go down to the river today to enjoy themselves and support all the rowers but please can everyone be very respectful of the situation…NO ONE MUST JUMP IN THE RIVER. People often go swimming on Saturday of eights but please do not do this today. All the boathouses will be flying flags at half mast too.”
Tributes have been left at the spot where Mohammed lost his life with one message reading, “RIP Hussain. Gone but never forgotten. Always in our hearts.”