Hampstead Heath superintendent issues bathing pond swimming safety guidance following teenager’s death

Firefighters tried in vain to locate a body in the men's bathing pond in Hampstead Heath. Picture: T

Firefighters tried in vain to locate a body in the men's bathing pond in Hampstead Heath. Picture: Twitter/@LondonFire - Credit: Archant

The superintendent of Hampstead Heath has issued safety guidance for swimming in the bathing ponds following the death of a teenager last night.

Bob Warnock urged the public to only swim in the designated lifeguarded areas after the 19-year-old got into difficulty while swimming in an area with no lifeguards.

He said: “This is a tragic incident and our heartfelt sympathies are with the family and friends of the deceased.

“While the exact details remain unclear, it is essential that the public only swim in the designated lifeguarded areas during the advertised swimming hours.

“The Heath’s bathing ponds offer an opportunity to swim close to nature, but the water is opaque with limited visibility and we recommend that swimmers who enter the cold water have a thorough health check before entering the water.”

The 19-year-old, named locally as Moshe Yitzchok Greenfield, is believed he was from the Orthodox Jewish community and lived in Stamford Hill in Hackney.

Moshe was among a group of young men who entered the pond from a bank outside of the designated swimming area after closing hours.

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Police were called to the bathing pond at about 5.30pm after the young man failed to surface. Specialist officers from the Marine Policing Unit attended and the 19-year-old’s body was recovered from the water shortly before 11pm.

The group had accessed a fenced off area of the pond that is not designated for swimming. Warning signs are in place at this location.

The teenager’s death is the second in two years at the bathing ponds.

In August 2013, Vogue photographer Sussie Alhburg drowned after suffering an abnormal heart rhythm while swimming.

Moshe is thought to have been the son of the late Rabbi Chaim Yaakov Greenfield, a prominent member of the Ultra-Orthodox Satmar community in London.

The Men’s Pond will be closed until 7am tomorrow, according to the City of London Corporation.