York MP calls for inquiry into river safety following four deaths in two weeks in city's rivers

Sonny Ferry, 19, died in the River Ouse this month.
Sonny Ferry, 19, died in the River Ouse this month.
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York Central MP Rachael Maskell has called for a new inquiry into river safety in the city following the deaths of four people within a fortnight on York's rivers.

The MP said: "Following a tragic fortnight on the river, I am calling for a new inquiry into river safety in York, involving all the relevant agencies, so that residents and visitors can be kept safe by the water.

READ MORE: Four people have died in York's river's this April

"There is always more that can be done, and I expect the council to respond positively to my call.”

Over the Easter weekend, Ms Maskell met with the parents of Sonny Ferry, who tragically died in the River Ouse on April 12, to discuss the changes they want to see in York.

Mr Ferry, a 19-year-old labourer from Rutland in Leicestershire has been working in York.

He had been on a night out in the city when he fell in and his body was recovered near the Blue Bridge two days later.

Kate and Stephen Ferry are trying to fund a new rescue boat for the city's rivers through a charity appeal.

Further to the call for a new inquiry, Ms Maskell offered her support for the campaign.

She said: “Kate and Stephen Ferry want to partner with residents across York and Sonny’s friends in supporting York Rescue Boat and to see improvements in river safety."

The replacement boat would feature equipment such as 3D scanning sonar, advanced radio communications and a ‘reach pole’ which can be extended to someone struggling in the water.

Mrs Ferry said: "Our sweet, precious boy is safe now, no longer is he lost in the dark, he is no longer frightened, he is no longer so very cold, or in any pain, he is no longer screaming for help, and he is no longer gasping for air.

“It is for every other child, every precious person still breathing, that we need to do this.

“I have no concerns that our Sonny will ever be forgotten or be without our love, and my family and I will never forget all of the other precious individuals that were taken by the waters, whatever the circumstances in which it happened.”

Sonny’s family and friends are setting up a Gofundme page and the collection at his funeral will also go to the appeal.

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Rachel Lacey, York Rescue Boat Operations Manager says: “We are all overwhelmed by their decision to support us, and campaign for greater river safety on a wider scale, at such a time.

“Each piece of equipment we have suggested will make a positive difference to our future, and the futures of the people we go to help.

"We are proud to be a part of Sonny’s legacy to York.

“The newer engines are quieter, cleaner, more efficient and more economical to run, we would be looking at getting around 15 years of operational service out of this boat.”

Earlier in the month, on April 6, the body of 48-year-old Lee Evennett, who had been missing since late March, was found in the River Foss near Fishergate.

On April 11, a woman's body was pulled from the river near Ouse bridge.

Police have not formally identified her but have confirmed she was in her 70s and was wearing pyjamas.

On Easter Saturday, another man's body was pulled from the River Ouse.

The man, aged in his 20s, from the Merseyside area, has not been named, but entered the water to escape from police who were investigating suspicious behaviour on the riverbank.

Police searches focused on the area near King's Staith and Skeldergate Bridge where he was last seen, and his body was found at 3am on Saturday, April 20.