LIFE-SAVING equipment placed by Worcester’s riverside after the death of University of Worcester student Tom Jones has gone missing.
After the alarm was raised by an off-duty West Mercia Police traffic officer, rescue charities have admitted they are unsure where the pole has gone.
Had it had been used for a genuine emergency it should have been returned and the charities involved have now called on those with any knowledge of its disappearance to come forward.
The equipment comprises a pole with a buoyancy aid and hook at the end to help pull people to shore if they get in difficulties in the Severn.
Equipment was first installed near Sabrina Bridge in memory of Tom who died in September 2018 after falling into the river while walking home after a night out.
A further lifeline, supported by the South Worcestershire Cadets, was bought in addition in a bid to drastically improve the chances of anyone who may fall into the Severn.
West Mercia Police’s David Harford noticed the pole had gone missing when he walked by the river at the weekend.
Andy Macauley, from West Mercia Search and Rescue, appealed for the missing pole to be returned.
“These poles and water side throwlines offer a life-saving way for the public to help if they see someone struggling in the water.
“Our Home & Dry water-safety course – which is free and supported by police and fire – teaches how important it is to Shout, Reach and Throw to help save someone.
“Shouting to get their attention, and using a reach pole, branch or something long to help them out is an internationally recognised rescue technique. We’d appeal for anyone who sees the missing pole to report it to the Fire Service to recover and replace.”