River Severn safety report finds 14 Shrewsbury deaths in last 10 years

A total of 41 river deaths have been recorded in Shropshire between 2004 and the present, with 16 in the last 10 years, according to a river safety report.

The river in Shrewsbury
The river in Shrewsbury

Of those in the last 10 years 14 were in Shrewsbury, with one incident at Bridgnorth and one at Highley, and the majority of the fatalities were young men.

Nationally 76 river deaths were recorded in the UK in 2021 with an average of 70 a year over the last three years.

The report authors WSP, on behalf of Shropshire Council, say: "Of the fatalities, the casualties have been predominantly male with 12 deaths compared to two females, a ratio of 86 per cent to o 14 per cent."

It is in line with national statistics that show eight in ten river deaths nationally were men.

"Five of the deaths followed a night out on a Friday or Saturday night, all of which were male and between the ages of 20-36. Of the five deaths where the casualty went missing, four of these were male. In at least three of those cases, it was speculated that the casualties may have been in a mentally vulnerable state."

The review into safety around the Severn in Shrewsbury was commissioned after a number of tragedies in the town earlier this year.

Two men, Nathan Fleetwood and Toby Jones, died in the river in the space of a few days in March and April, and another man, Dan Walker, was left with serious injuries after being rescued from the water.

Among the recommendations in this week's report are Amsterdam-style riverside urinals to try and prevent intoxicated men falling into the Severn, more ladders out of the water to provide an escape route for when people do fall in, and public safety campaigns.

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