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Dyfed Powys Police

Three dead in Haverfordwest paddleboarding incident

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Dyfed Powys Police are reporting that three people have died and another remains in hospital following a multi-agency river rescue in Pembrokeshire yesterday.

Calls for help were received shortly after 9am yesterday (Saturday 20 October) after a group of nine adults paddleboarding on the River Cleddau in Haverfordwest got into difficulty.

Dyfed Powys Police say that the exact circumstances surrounding the incident is still being investigated.

Sadly two women and a man died at the scene. A woman remains in critical condition in hospital.

A further five people were rescued without injury.

A member of the public who is believed to have entered the water to attempt a rescue later exited the water safely.

The Quay Street area of Haverfordwest was cordoned off for several hours with the public asked to avoid the area while a search of the river was carried out.

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Thirty firefighters from Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service, including specialist wading crews and swift water rescue specialists were also part of the rescue.

Two fire service boats were launched to assist with bank and river searches, with the crews working closely with Coastguard teams.

There was Helicopter support from the National Police Air Service, Coastguard and Wales Air Ambulance.

The lifeboat stationed at Angle was also part of the rescue operation.

The incident occurred while flood warnings were in place on the river following recent heavy rain.

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Welsh Ambulance Service attended with several ambulances, and took the injured woman to nearby Withybush Hospital.

More than 20 police officers attended the scene, which remained cordoned off until 5pm.

Detective Chief Inspector Jonathan Rees from Dyfed Powys Police said that a full investigation was already underway, but at this stage his thoughts were focussed on the loved ones of those who had died and the injured paddleboarder who remains in hospital.

He thanked emergency service colleagues for their swift support, and the public for their patience throughout the incident.

DCI Rees has appealed to anyone who may have information about the incident to contact them through a dedicated website.

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A Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) spokesman said: “A team of investigators from the Marine Accident Investigation Branch has deployed to Haverfordwest to undertake a preliminary assessment of the accident, working in cooperation with other agencies.

“The aim of the MAIB’s preliminary assessment is to help in determining the way forward.”

Speaking to the BBC on Saturday, Haverfordwest Town Councillor Thomas Tudor said: “Today a terrible tragedy unfolded on the River Cleddau in the Castle Ward of Haverfordwest.

“I would like to extend my sympathies to the families who have lost loved ones in this tragedy and I would like to thank the emergency services for their brave efforts in tackling this issue.

“I would also like to thank the staff from the Bristol Trader and Vaughans Radio who provided help and support for the emergency services during this difficult operation.”

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(Lead image: Jaggery / Geograph)

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