Rescue bid as pal drowns in Doncaster quarry

The underwater search team at Auckley Quarry lake Picture: Andrew Roe
The underwater search team at Auckley Quarry lake Picture: Andrew Roe

Desperate attempts were made to pull a dad-of-one to safety before he drowned in a Doncaster quarry, his inquest heard.

Matthew Mellor, aged 27, drowned in the disused quarry off Hurst Lane, Auckley, after he got into difficulty whilst swimming with eight friends on Monday, July 21, last year.

Ross Young, giving evidence to the inquest, described how he and another member of the group both tried to help Mr Mellor when they realised he was struggling.

The inquest heard Mr Mellor was pushing the pair under the water as he desperately tried to keep his head above the surface.

Mr Young said: “I realised he was struggling, he started flailing around and screaming and his head was going under the water. He came up one more time for air and I tried to go under the water, but we couldn’t find him.”

Mr Mellor’s body was recovered by police divers the following day.

The court heard Mr Mellor, a regular cannabis user, had smoked cannabis and synthetic cannabis – a drug which mimics the affects of cannabis – earlier that day before joining his friends at the site for the early evening swim.

Dr Stephen Moreley told the hearing low levels of the drugs were found in Mr Mellor’s system

Dr Moreley said: “The affects of the drugs may have made him less aware in this situation.”

However, Nicola Mundy, South Yorkshire East coroner, said she was satisfied, after hearing evidence Mr Mellor seemed his usual self, that the drugs did not directly play a part in his death.

Giving a verdict of accidental death, Ms Mundy said Mr Mellor’s cause of death was hypoxia due to drowning. Speaking about his friend Mr Young said: “He was a happy and bubbly person who was always happy to help people out.”

Following the incident in the summer, Yorkshire Ambulance Service bosses launched a campaign urging people to take extra care in and around open water during the warm weather.

The water in the quarry was also dyed black to deter people from swimming.

Vince Larvin, from the service, said: “Yorkshire’s many waterways are popular destinations for people during the summer months, which can make them dangerous places for those who don’t understand the risks they are taking.”