Man is fourth to drown at country park in less than a decade

Radek Gina, 20, has been named as the 20-year-old who drowned at Bawsey Pits on Wednesday, June 16.

Radek Gina, 20, has been named as the 20-year-old who drowned at Bawsey Pits on Wednesday, June 16. - Credit: Facebook

Between the car park and the spot where Radek Gina drowned, there are six No Swimming signs.

But the 20-year-old from Wisbech became the fourth person to die at Bawsey Country Park in less than a decade, after ignoring warnings to stay out of the water.

Emergency services were called to the beauty spot off the B1145 near King's Lynn at around 4pm on Wednesday, after reports a man had got into difficulties in one of the lakes on the site.

Former College of West Anglia student Mr Gina was pronounced dead at the scene.

Friends paid tribute on social media. One said: "Such a great lad. So young. So heart breaking. I urge everyone, DO NOT swim at Bawsey Pits, it's so dangerous. Rest in peace Radek Gina, you'll be missed." 

Bawsey Pits

A sign warns people to stay out of the water beside the lake where Mr GIna died - Credit: Chris Bishop

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Another added: "It's a wicked world, what is going on. Another dear young life gone only out enjoying himself cruel old world we live in. I pray to God to give his family strength."

Wisbech St Mary Football Club posted on social media: "It is with great sadness that we have have to report the tragic death of former youth player Radek Gina. As a club our heart felt thoughts and prayers go to Radek's family and friends at this very sad time."

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Police are still investigating Mr Gina's death. Once their enquiries have been completed, a file will be passed to the coroner who will open an inquest.

There is also likely to be an investigation by safety officials from West Norfolk council, which said it could not comment on an ongoing matter.

The lakes have now claimed four lives in recent years. Umar Balogun, 16, and Ryan Pettengell, 41, drowned on the same afternoon in July 2013.

Kristers Bednarskis, who drowned in a lake at Bawsey Pits, near KIng's Lynn Picture: Ilja Jevtusenk

Kristers Bednarskis, who drowned in a lake at Bawsey Pits, near KIng's Lynn Picture: Ilja Jevtusenko - Credit: Archant

Kristers Bednarskis, 22, died on August 8 last year. He got into difficulty after he drifted out across the lake on an airbed.

At an inquest into his death last month, the coroner heard safety officers from West Norfolk council carried out an investigation into the incident.

Community safety manager Andy Nederpel said there was clear evidence that site owner Stephen Bacon had carried out improvements and was doing "all he reasonably can" to ensure safety at the site.

He added: "The only way to prevent another drowning at Bawsey Country Park is for the public to follow the rules."

Bawsey Country Park

Warning signs beside the path which leads to the small lake at Bawsey Country Park - Credit: Chris Bishop

The court was told if the council were to consider a closure order, it would also have to consider the impact on those who followed the rules and the benefits visiting the park had for their physical and mental health.

More than 40 signs have been erected warning people not to swim, while a warden also patrols the lakes.

The inquest heard people would get out of the water when asked by the warden, then get back in after he had moved on. Others would simply "tell him where to go in no uncertain terms".

Mr Bacon had acted on all recommendations made by the fire brigade in a risk assessment carried out after he bought the lakes. 

The rescue team at Bawsey Country Park. Photo: Ian Burt Photography

The rescue team at Bawsey Country Park. Photo: Ian Burt Photography - Credit: Archant

Senior Coroner Jacqueline Lake coroner recorded a conclusion of misadventure with regard to the death of Mr Bednarskis. She added: "People do have to take responsibility for their own safety. If there are warning signs, they are there for a reason and should not be flouted by the public."

The two lakes at the park are flooded former sand quarries. While shallow water lapping around the sandy beach which leads down to the water may look inviting, depths drop away to 20ft or more close to the shore, where the sand was scooped out using draglines.

Temperatures plunge sharply in the deeper water, leaving swimmers at risk of cold water shock - even on the hottest of days, such as Wednesday, when the mercury nudged 30C.

Bawsey Country Park

Depths drop away steeply in the lake where Mr GIna died at Bawsey Country Park - Credit: Chris Bishop

The RNLI warns: "The effect on the body of entering water 15°C and below is often underestimated. This shock can be the precursor to drowning."

Thick weed grows in some areas of the lakes, which can entangle swimmers. There are also believed to be obstructions suck as old machinery abandoned when the workings were flooded decades ago beneath the water.

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