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Friday, 3 August, 2001, 11:59 GMT 12:59 UK
Investigation into river drowning
river sychryd
The River Sychryd tends to swell after heavy rain
An investigation has begun into an accident at a beauty spot in the Neath Valley in south Wales on Thursday which left a teenager dead.

Jason Dalton from Bargoed near Caerphilly and two friends were swept away after swimming in the River Sychryd whilst on a walking trip to the Pontneddfechan waterfalls.

Chief Inspector Richard Green South Wales Police
Chief Inspector Richard Green:Treacherous conditions
The 17-year-old was unable to scramble up the 80ft gorge and police have said there was no indication safety equipment had been used during the trip.

The youth was taken to Morriston Hospital in Swansea but died soon after his arrival.

Police have appealed for a climber who was in the area at the time of the incident to contact them as he may have information which will help the investigation.

Jason had just started a 12 week personal development training course at Ystrad Mynach college which involved activities outside the classroom.

It is a tragic time for them and it has affected people at the college as well

College principal Bryn Davies

He was on a field trip with a group of five other students from the college and a tutor who were walking along the Waterfall Walk banks of the river.

College principal Bryn Davies said: "Our concerns are with the families, particularly with Jason's.

"It is a tragic time for them and it has affected people at the college as well."

Neighbours described Jason as "the ideal son."

Three people got into difficulty whilst swimming in the river at Dinas Rock after a rush of water engulfed them.

Swollen river

Police have said that the heavy rain in the area on Thursday had made conditions treacherous.

Chief Inspector Richard Green from South Wales Police said: "The rush of water which came down this river probably exacerbated the problems that the youngsters experienced."

Two teenagers were helped to safety by friends who had jumped into the river to help, but it has been reported that Jason jumped back in to the river and was swept back under the water.

Witnesses told how he was washed 100 yards downstream.

kevin thomas
Kevin Thomas also died at the beauty spot in 1998
It was 10 minutes before rescue teams were able to pull him from the water.

The two other boys were treated for hypothermia and shock after being in the water for nearly five minutes.

Five hours of heavy rain had swollen the river before the incident at 1310 BST.

The Health and Safety Executive has said it will carry out a preliminary investigation into the accident.

The Waterfall Walk near Ystradfellte covers a 9.5 mile circle and also takes in the Sgwd -yr-Eira and Sgwd Gwladus falls.

This latest accident follows the death of an outdoor pursuits instructor in the River Neath beauty spot near Pontneddfechan in 1998.

Kevin Thomas, who ran the Llangorse Rope Centre near Brecon, died after he was swept away by a swollen current after trying to rescue a schoolboy.

A verdict of accidental death was recorded on the experienced instructor.

BBC Wales's Geraint Vincent reports
"He was swept away and washed around 100 yards downstream"
BBC Wales's Geraint Vincent report
"In Jason's home town his death had brought shock and sadness"
Heather Murray, South Wales Police
"I can confirm that the boy has drowned"
John Walsh-Heron, AALA
"Guidelines are being reviews at the moment"
See also:

25 Dec 99 | UK
Man dies after river plunge
06 Nov 00 | UK
Two dead as storms return
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