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12-year-old river boy comes 10ft from being swept underneath Chichester
A 12-year-old boy was nearly swept underneath a city while playing on a raft in a swollen river with two friends.
The youngster was on the raft in the River Lavant in Hornet, Chichester, on Tuesday evening when he came within 10ft of the entrance to a culvert pipe which travels underneath the city.
The boy managed to clamber onto a small brick ledge and firefighters from Chichester station created a system of pulleys, ladders and ropes to rescue him at around 6.20pm.
He was treated at the scene for cold and shock by South East Coast Ambulance Service but did not need hospital treatment.
Previously the Environment Agency has issued flood warnings for the Lavant.
One firefighter at the scene tweeted after the incident: “Very lucky escape for youths playing on makeshift raft on fast moving River Lavant. “Rescued 10m short of the culvert under the city.”
A West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service statement said: “The force of the water carried the boy dangerously close to the culvert pipe, where the river goes under the city, before he managed to pull himself onto a small brick ledge.”
West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service incident commander in charge of the rescue, Kim Taylor, said: "This young lad had a very lucky escape because this could have been a much more serious incident.
“If he had been swept a few more feet downstream into that culvert pipe then I have no doubt we would be talking about a tragic outcome.
"This incident really does highlight how dangerous playing on, or wading into, water can be.
“The protracted period of rain and higher than usual water levels mean that the risks are even greater at the moment.
“However, even if the water doesn't look deep it can still be highly dangerous. Our advice is simple - don't put yourself or others at risk just stay out of the water."
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