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Family day out turns to tragedy as bodies of two teenagers pulled from lake near Norwich

PUBLISHED: 12:21 13 August 2015 | UPDATED: 13:53 13 August 2015

Picture by SIMON FINLAY

Picture by SIMON FINLAY

Archant Norfolk.

An investigation is ongoing after the bodies of two teenagers were pulled from a lake on the edge of Norwich.

The bodies were discovered after a three-hour search by rescue teams at a former gravel working at Thorpe Marshes Reserve, off Whitlingham Lane.

Emergency services were called to Thorpe St Andrew shortly before 5pm yesterday to reports that a male and female had got into difficulty in the water.

Chief Inspector Nathan Clark from Norfolk Police said: “Colleagues from Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service, East of England Ambulance Service, Search and Rescue, Coastguard and the police helicopter assisted officers on the ground and in the air in the search.

“Both bodies were discovered within water and were sadly pronounced dead at the scene.

“As a father of two young teenagers, it is difficult to imagine how the family are feeling right now.”

Inquiries are continuing into the circumstances surrounding their deaths.

It is understood that the teenagers, believed to be a 14-year-old boy and a 16-year-old girl, had been on a day out with their family at St Andrew’s Broad, an area well-known for its variety of wildlife which is run by the Norfolk Wildlife Trust.

Brendan Joyce, trust chief executive, said “no swimming” signs had been put up around the former gravel pit, warning of the dangers of swimming in the area but that they had been vandalised and ripped down shortly after being put up.

The trust tweeted today to say: “We are very shocked & saddened to learn of the tragic loss of life at our Thorpe Marshes reserve. Our thoughts are with family and friends.”

Chief fire officer Nigel Williams from Norfolk Fire and Rescue advised people to avoid swimming in open water.

He said: “We always tell people when it is sunny, rather than swim in open water like this, we would rather people use a swimming pool.

“My heartfelt condolences, and those from every firefighter at the scene, go out to the family at this terribly sad time.”

Around 40 fire officers attended the scene including a dive team and urban search and rescue team.

A Sea King helicopter was also called into assist with the search.

Oscar Forder, 23, of Costessey, had been at work at Gott’s mechanics on Whitlingham Lane, when a family came screaming and crying towards him.

He said: “The family came running up screaming so me and another colleague ran down to help. When we got there, they were already under the water. Everyone was screaming, it was manic.”

A family of about five people, including two young children, thought to live locally, were seen walking up Whitlingham Lane in a state of shock with towels wrapped around them shortly after emergency services arrived.

Kerri Howard, 40, of Common Lane, said she often visited the lake with her family. She added: “The water looks lovely and quite clear, but as you go out it suddenly gets really deep.”

•Did you see anything? Call Luke Powell on 01603 772684.

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