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River plunge dad in call for safety measures

By Western Daily Press  |  Posted: March 20, 2014

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A father who had to jump into the River Avon to save his young daughter has joined calls for improved safety measures. Duncan Olesen said he would like ropes along the side of the river to be reinforced and for officials to consider putting up more railings.

Mr Olesen had been riding with his wife and their six-year-old daughter, who he has asked not to be named, when the child's bicycle clipped something on the towpath and she fell into the river at Widcombe. "Fortunately she is a good swimmer and was able to grab onto a rope. When I jumped in with her we decided to pull on the rope to help us move upstream to a ladder we could see but the rope came away. We tried to swim upstream but couldn't."

Eventually the pair used ropes to get to a ladder downstream, which they had not at first noticed. Neither were hurt in the incident but the young girl did lose her bike.

The pair were helped to safety by Bath Big Issue seller Istvan Kakas.

Bath and North East Somerset Council is currently working with the police, the fire service, the Environment Agency and the Canal and River Trust on a list of work that needs to be done, but councillors last week called for the measures outlined in 2011 to be speeded up.

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