The Royal Life Saving Society UK (RLSS UK), the Drowning Prevention Charity, has issued a warning following the search for missing 29-year-old, Rory Johnson and what is thought to be the body of missing 18-year-old, Caroline Everest being found in Porter Brook in Sheffield. 

The charity is reminding people that winter weather can be extremely deadly and not to underestimate the power of water or the dangers of ice when walking near water or when under the influence of alcohol. Winter weather often brings floods and high water, including darker nights and mornings. These conditions can be very dangerous and create a significant risk of drowning if an accident happens. 

Sheffield Hallam University student, Caroline Everest was last seen when she left the Corporation nightclub on Milton Street, Sheffield at 02:30am on Sunday. A woman’s body was found at 03:45am this morning (Tuesday) in the Porter Brook, a small river just off Summerfield Street, close to the eastern end of Ecclesall Road. 

Rory Johnson, from Skipton, has been missing since leaving the York Central Travelodge at 00:15am on Friday. North Yorkshire Police believe he may have got into difficulty while walking near the River Ouse. Humberside Police Underwater Search Unit are carrying an extensive search of the river near City Mills and Skeldergate Bridge. 

RLSS UK’s Director of Volunteer and Community Education, Mike Dunn, said: “The news of a body being found in a brook in Sheffield as police search for Caroline Everest is devastating and our thoughts are with her family and friends at this difficult time. We would also like to send our thoughts to the family of Rory Johnson as the search for him continues. 

“Drowning is not just a tragic outcome of accidents during hot, summer weather – winter weather can be extremely deadly. Around 400 people needlessly die from drowning in the UK and thousands more suffer injury, some life-changing, through near-drowning experiences. Around a quarter of all UK drownings are within the winter period*.

“We want people to be aware of the dangers of the water to stay safe. The water is extremely cold this time of year and raising water levels lead to dangerous currents.”

The news of the search for Rory Johnson in the River Ouse in York comes less than a week after Jackie Roberts, the mother of 20-year-old student Megan Roberts, who drowned in the River Ouse when walking home after a night out in January 2014, accepted a posthumous degree on behalf of Megan at York St Johns graduation ceremony.

Jackie Roberts said: “I am absolutely heartbroken for the family of Caroline Everest. It’s a particularly bad time of the year with water levels high and cold dark nights. I feel for Rory’s family also as they wait to hear news. Please be extra careful if you’re going out and stick with your friends.”

Since losing Megan to drowning, Jackie has been actively involved in drowning prevention work with the RLSS UK, specifically within the York area where Megan tragically died. Jackie has recently been working alongside York St Johns University in supporting the RLSS UK national campaign, Don’t Drink and Drown to raise awareness of the dangers of walking near water when under the influence of alcohol. 

RLSS UK launched its national Don’t Drink and Drown campaign that ran from 28 September to 4 October this year and had a focus on reaching students. Following the success of the campaign, RLSS UK will be again warning revellers throughout the festive season and on 25-31 January 2016, when students return back to university, focus back on students. 

The message is clear – to act responsibly near water if you have been drinking and to make sure you and your friends avoid walking home near bodies of water.  

The campaign is set to see universities throughout the UK again support the campaign and target their students with key water safety messages throughout the week, alongside a host of social media awareness posts and graphics with the hashtag #DontDrinkandDrown as well posters, beermats and wristbands distributed to universities around the UK. 

Research shows that around a quarter of all adult drowning victims have alcohol in their bloodstream*. 

Mike added: “People die each year after entering the water with alcohol in their bloodstream, either deliberately or completely by accident. Drinking near or in water can be dangerous and a deadly cocktail. Alcohol can seriously impede your ability to survive in water.

“At RLSS UK we work hard to inform and educate people of the dangers and advise the public to never go into water when you have been drinking and always take care and be aware if you are near water.

“When walking home from a night out, avoid routes that are alongside water, particularly in the darkness, and always stay with and look out for your friends.”

The charity Missing People is also supporting RLSS UK’s messages.

If you would like to support the RLSS UK Don’t Drink and Drown campaign, visit

For more information on how to stay safe around water this winter:

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Call – 0300 323 0096