Update: Investigations continue as bodies recovered following tragedy at Norfolk beauty spot

Emergency services at Bawsey Pits. Picture: Ian Burt

Emergency services at Bawsey Pits. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: IAN BURT

The dangers of swimming in former quarries have been highlighted following a double tragedy at a Norfolk beauty spot.

Emergency services at Bawsey Pits. Picture: Ian Burt

Emergency services at Bawsey Pits. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: IAN BURT

A major search and rescue operation was launched last night following reports of two men in difficulty in water at Bawsey Pits, near King's Lynn.

Officers from Norfolk Police were called at around 4.30pm to reports of a missing man. During their search, it emerged that another man had gone missing.

Search and rescue teams, the urban search and rescue unit from Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service, the dive team from East of England Ambulance Service, RAF Search and Rescue and the police helicopter assisted officers on the ground.

An investigation has been launched into the two deaths.

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Supt Carl Edwards, King's Lynn and West Norfolk police commander for Norfolk Police, said earlier in the evening: 'We are searching the wooded area and also the water. A young man has been recovered deceased in one of the lakes and has been taken to the mortuary.'

'We are looking for another young man at the moment. They were separate incidents linked only by time and location.'

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Police later confirmed that a second body had been recovered.

A police cordon and two fire engines blocked the entrance to the former sand pits, between King's Lynn and Gayton, which are visited by hundreds of people during the summer months.

Swimming is banned in the lakes, parts of which have unpredictable depths and dense undergrowth, but many ignore the signs and take to the waters regardless.

A spokesman for minerals firm Sibelco, which owns the site, said: 'There have been signs up forbidding swimming. As a firm we are extremely saddened by the tragic events which appear to have taken place.

'We will continue to work with the authorities and police on the investigation and will review the situation when the picture becomes clearer.'

Full investigations into the casue of death of the two men will continue today, but earlier this month Alex Attwood, an environment minister in the Northern Ireland executive, warned after two people were drowned in County Down: '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 swimmers, even the best swimmers, to cramp, go into shock and drown quickly.'

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