Page last updated at 19:58 GMT, Wednesday, 12 August 2009 20:58 UK

Boy's drowning death an accident

Tom Haile
An oak tree has been planted in Tom's memory

A 10-year-old boy who drowned in the River Severn died accidentally, a coroner has recorded.

Tom Haile from Hardwicke, Gloucestershire, was swept away while playing on mud flats between Newnham and Arlingham on 27 July 2008.

"He surfaced three times and I got hold of him and tried to save him but the current was unbelievable," said Tom's 17-year-old cousin Danny Webb.

An oak tree has been planted near the spot where Tom died in his memory.

Soft mud

The youngster was with other children when he was swept into the river.

A member of the public found Tom's body 400 yards (365m) from the Passage Inn on the east bank about 13 hours later.

Memoral plaque to Tom Haile
The Severn has fast-rising tides which can catch people out

After recording the death as accidental at the Shire Hall in Gloucester, Coroner Alan Crickmore said children should see Tom's death as a warning that waterways need to be treated with the utmost respect.

Tom's mother Jessica Haile said more should be done to alert children to the dangers of playing in waterways.

"The sand and mud banks in the Severn suffer from really soft mud which can trap you very quickly, sandbanks which have quicksand in them and coupled to the tide which floods in about three-and-a-half hours here," said Geoff Dawes of the Severn Area Rescue Association.

"Anyone getting trapped has very little time to be rescued."

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