Police identify the two people who died in Bawsey Pits tragedy

Flowers have been placed onto the gates of Bawsey Pits. Picture: Ian Burt

Flowers have been placed onto the gates of Bawsey Pits. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: IAN BURT

POLICE have named the two people who died in the double drowning tragedy at Bawsey Pits.

Ryan Pettengell

Ryan Pettengell - Credit: Archant

Ryan Pettengell, 41, of Railway Road, King’s Lynn, and formerly of Wisbech, died after he got in trouble in the water in the larger lake at the site.

His body was recovered at about 7.30pm on the evening of the rescue operation.

Umar Balogun, 16, from the Waltham Forest area of London, died in the smaller lake. His body was recovered around two hours later.

He had been living in Ely at the time of the accident.


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Their disappearances sparked a major search and rescue operation, with police, fire and the Norfolk Lowland Search and Rescue teams deploying significant resources to try and locate them.

A police spokesman said inquests into both deaths would be opened by the coroner in due course and that enquiries to establish the circumstances surrounding the events will continue.

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The enquiries will involve the police, Health and Safety Executive and West Norfolk Council.

At a meeting held to discuss the future of the former quarry following the tragedy, councillors and site owners Sibelco agreed that the area should remain closed to the public while there is temptation for people to cool off in the water during the summer heatwave.

Last night, Mr Pettengell was hailed a hero after it emerged he drowned while trying to rescue Umar.

Friends of Mr Pettengell told how he heard the cries for help of Umar’s friends and family and dived into Bawsey Pits to try and help.

One man said Mr Pettengell dived in to help even though he was still using a wrist support after recently breaking an arm.

Mr Pettengell is thought to have only lived in Lynn in recent years and had run a household waste clearance business which he started in Wisbech.

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