Drownings prompt quarries warning

The Environment Minister has encouraged people to stay away from disused quarries over the holidays, weeks after the death of a Dromara teenager.

Kevin O’Hare (15) drowned after getting into difficulties at Paul’s Quarry on the outskirts of Annalong. Colin Polland, who was on holiday from England, jumped into the water at the isolated quarry in an attempt to rescue the teenager but also drowned.

Now, Minister, Alex Attwood, has launched a new scheme entitled ‘Stay Out! Stay Safe!’.

He said: “We all should be aware of the dangers of disused quarries. Several people have died in disused quarries in recent years. I have met or heard from some of the families and their pain and anxiety that more lives should not be lost, is vivid.

“Disused quarries are not playgrounds. They are not places to explore. I cannot emphasise enough that everyone, adults, teenagers and children must stay away.

“Most people do not realise how very cold quarry water can be. It can be much colder than rivers and the sea and this causes even the best swimmers to cramp, go into shock and drown quickly.

“Quarries pose other hidden dangers. . . I urge all parents to know where your children are at all times, particularly during the summer holidays.”