One of the three students found by police swimming naked in Castle Mill Stream last week has spoken out against the dangers of binge drinking.Joe Wellington, a second year physicist at LMH, writes on page 11 of this week’s Cherwell, “Whilst trapped under the bridge, with my life hanging in the balance, I experienced life changing thoughts. Only then, when I was close to death, did I realise how utterly stupid everything I had done in the last few hours had been.”Last week it was reported that police had rescued three LMH students from dangerously fast-flowing waters near Hythe Bridge street. One of the students, Joe Wellington, initially refused to be rescued and swam away from the police. He was swept downstream under two bridges and into a weir, from where he finally climbed to safety.
PC Philips, one of the policeman involved, said at the time that Wellington was lucky to survive.
“Luckily he managed to come through the weir with only cuts and bruises but, if the weir had been locked, he would have hit it at speed and almost certainly been killed,” he said.Speaking exclusively to Cherwell Wellington said, “It was unbelievably stupid – I was definitely in danger. I went back to the weir the other day and the river is ridiculously fast.“Drunken fun is drunken fun but when you start putting your life at risk it stops being fun and becomes ridiculous,” he added.The Oxford Mail attacked the three students, running the headline “You Idiots” on its front page. Wellington describes this treatment as deserved, saying, “I feel quite ashamed. I’m frustrated that I did it but you can’t blame the papers.“I’m disappointed that I wasted a substantial amount of the emergency services’ time,” he added.
He confirmed that the three students will be doing community service to make up for the trouble caused. “I am going to do quite a lot of community service: some in College, some in town.We’re thinking of volunteering with St John’s Ambulance or the Fire Service. It’s the right thing for me to give back something to the community.”He claimed he wanted to speak publicly about the incident because it had made him realise the dangers of binge drinking.He concluded, “This has definitely changed the way I feel about alcohol – if I hadn’t been completely off my face I wouldn’t have done it. I take complete responsibility but I think alcohol is more dangerous than people give it credit for.”