First picture of schoolboy, 14, who drowned at nature reserve

·3-min read
Kai Gardner-Pugh, 14, drowned while swimming at a nature reserve in Scunthorpe. (SWNS)
Kai Gardner-Pugh, 14, drowned while swimming at a nature reserve in Scunthorpe. (SWNS)

A 14-year-old boy who drowned while swimming at a nature reserve has been pictured for the first time.

Kai Gardner-Pugh was at the centre of a desperate search and rescue effort after getting into difficulty in water at Ashby Ville Nature Reserve near Scunthorpe, North Lincolnshire, at around 3pm on Tuesday.

Rescuers could not save the teenager and his body was pulled from the water a short time later.

Humberside Police confirmed on Thursday afternoon Kai was the boy who drowned and released a photo of him in school uniform.

Kai Gardner-Pugh drowned at Ashby Ville Nature Reserve in Scunthorpe. (Google Maps)
Kai Gardner-Pugh drowned at Ashby Ville Nature Reserve in Scunthorpe. (Google Maps)

A force spokesman said: "Kai’s family continue to be supported by specially trained officers and our thoughts remain with his family and friends at this very sad time.

"Kai’s family have asked for privacy as they grieve and come to terms with their loss."

Emergency services and safety charities have warned people not to swim in open water during the recent hot weather.

Kai is now one of the estimated 40 people drowned in the UK since 14 July, when a heatwave lasting around a week began.

Waris Ali tried to save his wife Edina Olahova and their nine-year-old son Rana Haris Ali. (Family handout)
Waris Ali tried to save his wife Edina Olahova and their nine-year-old son Rana Haris Ali. (Family handout)
Three people died in the water near Pulpit Rock at Loch Lomond. (PA)
Three people died in the water near Pulpit Rock at Loch Lomond. (PA)

Last weekend, six people drowned in Scotland alone.

Edina Olahova, 29, and Rana Haris Ali, nine, and Muhammad Asim Riaz, 39, died after getting into difficulty in the water near Pulpit Rock at Loch Lomond on Saturday.

An 11-year-old boy also died in a river at Stonehouse, a 13-year-old boy lost his life in water at Hazelbank in Lanark, while a 16-year-old boy died at Balloch at the south end of Loch Lomond on Friday.

Matthew Sherrington, 14, disappeared in the North Sea off Hartlepool on 15 July.

He was last spotted playing in the water near Steetley Pier on the Headland, before the RNLI found his body on 23 July after several searches.

Matthew Sherrington, 14, is feared to have drowned in the North Sea off Hartlepool. (Police)
Matthew Sherrington, 14, drowned in the North Sea off Hartlepool. (Police)
Matthew was last spotted playing in the water close to Steetley Pier. (Getty)
Matthew was last spotted playing in the water close to Steetley Pier. (Getty)

Heavyweight champion boxer Tyson Fury also led tributes to a teenager who drowned in the River Dee on 22 July.

Frank Varey, 16, represented England at the European Junior Boxing Championships in 2019.

He died while swimming in the river in Handbridge, just south of Chester.

A woman's body was also pulled from the sea at Croyde Beach in north Devon on 18 July.

Paramedics, police officers, HM Coastguard and RNLI crews rushed to the scene where a body was found in the water.

The coastguard said a person was rescued and taken into the care of paramedics, but authorities confirmed that the woman had died.

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