Paddleboarders die after incident on river in Haverfordwest

Three people have died and another is in a critical condition in hospital after a group of paddleboarders got caught in a flash flood on the River Cleddau in Haverfordwest, South Wales, police have confirmed.

Five others who were rescued from the water were uninjured, Dyfed-Powys Police said in a statement.

Police officers, the Welsh Ambulance Service (WAS), fire and coastguard joined the multi-agency search on the Cleddau on Saturday. Air support was also provided by both the National Police Air Service (NPAS) and Wales Air Ambulance.

A Dyfed-Powys Police spokeswoman described the search and rescue operation as ‘swift’.

“Dyfed-Powys Police received reports of people in distress in the Cleddau river, in Haverfordwest, shortly after 9am on Saturday,” the statement says.

“A group of nine adults from the south Wales area had travelled to Pembrokeshire for a paddleboarding excursion.

“The exact circumstances surrounding the incident are being investigated, but it is believed that the group got into difficulty in the water.

“Sadly two women and a man died at the scene, and a woman remains in a critical condition in hospital. Next of kin are being supported by specialist family liaison officers.”

Those involved are said to have been members of the South Wales Paddle Boarders and Salty Dog Co, an organisation based in Port Talbot.

Haverfordwest councillor, Thomas Baden Tudor, told ITV that the incident was a ‘terrible tragedy’ and described how the river was flowing at a ‘terrific rate’ on Saturday.

According to The Guardian the Health and Safety Executive, the coroner and the Marine Accident Investigation Branch have been informed. A MAIB spokesperson says: “A team of inspectors from the Marine Accident Investigation Branch has deployed to Haverfordwest to undertake a preliminary assessment of the accident, working in cooperation with other agencies. The aim of the MAIB’s preliminary assessment is to help with determining the way forward.”

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