Cambridge: Inquest Ruled Boy Drowned

19 September 2013, 15:29 | Updated: 20 September 2013, 08:05

The inquest into the death of a 12 year old boy has ruled he drowned in the River Cam in Cambridge.

Andrew Collings, who lived in Cambridge and attended Netherall School, got into difficulty while playing in the River Cam as temperatures topped 25 degrees centigrade last month.

Friends and members of the public fought to save him but his body was found in the waters at Lammas Land, the Fen Causeway on August 28th after a major search by emergency services.

An inquest in Huntingdon, which his family didn't attend, heard friends had checked that Andrew was confident enough to enter the water.

One of them, Toby Wilton, said in a police statement: "We all jumped in and he followed from the side. 

He could swim but not very well."

Fisherman Alvin Dellar had watched the children playing at about 6pm on August 27th. 

He saw Andrew in trouble after one of his feet got caught but thought it was a prank until the boy began calling for help.

His friends tried to save him and members of a nearby canoe club helped.

When emergency services arrived the water was so churned up that a police helicopter could not locate him in an aerial search. 

It wasn't until about 3am the following morning that the body was found by underwater search teams.

The inquest heard swimming was not banned in the river and there were no life buoys. 

There was a swimming pool nearby and the stretch is popular with wild swimmers.

Coroner Samuel Bass returned a conclusion that Andrew's death was accidental. 

He said: "It looks like this was an absolute tragedy - these children were just enjoying themselves.

It seems like everybody did everything they could to help him.

I will consider writing to the council to ask them about the possibility of putting some kind of life saving equipment in the area."

Andrew was described as a "popular and well-liked" pupil.