A toddler died after falling into a canal while feeding ducks with his mum just hours before Mother’s Day, friends have revealed.
The boy, 3, slipped and plunged into the icy water in Newbury, Berks around 2pm yesterday.
Both were rushed to hospital and Thames Valley Police today confirmed the little boy had died.
The little boy and his mum were feeding the ducks and swans in the canal, just yards from a children’s park and boating lake.
He suddenly fell into the icy lake before his horrified mum jumped in to save him, friends said today.
A pal, who wanted to remain anonymous, said: “He was just feeding the ducks with his mother and he just fell in.
“She went in to try and save him. We feel devastated for the mother, just before Mother’s Day.
“It’s every parent’s worst nightmare. It’s just a freak accident.”
He added: “With my whole heart I feel sorry for them, I do not know how they are going to get past it, it’s very upsetting, it brings it home.”
Today bunches of flowers were slotted through a metal fence, next to a sign which read “danger weir.”
Mothers out with their young children celebrating Mother’s Day visited the canal with flowers in tow.
Mum-of-three Gina Scandrett had been on a walk with her 11-year-old daughter and her toddler who had placed a small panda teddy beside the flowers.
“I have a little daughter almost aged three years who has chosen one of her teddies and brought it down here today,” the 31-year-old mum added.
“We come here a lot, it’s so difficult because I don’t see it as being dangerous but now I am extra vigilant.”
The “freak accident” happened just yards from Victoria Park, Newbury, which sits opposite the canal with dozens of little children playing.
Passers-by dialled 999 yesterday which sparked a huge police response with firefighters rescuing the mother and son before paramedics rushed them to hospital.
However, despite their best efforts, the toddler passed away.
Police said both the child and mum were pulled from the water near Ash Bridge yesterday at around 2pm.
Both were immediately taken to a nearby hospital where hours later the boy died.
“His family are being supported by specially trained officers,” TVP West Berkshire tweeted today.
“The death is being treated as unexplained but not suspicious and a file will be prepared for the coroner,” they added.
“Our thoughts are with the child’s family at this incredibly difficult time.
“Thames Valley Police is not currently in a position to release the child’s identity.”
A spokesperson for the Canal River Trust, which owns the land where the incident occurred, said: “We are shocked and deeply saddened by the tragic loss of life of a three year old child in the River Kennet in Newbury at the weekend. Our thoughts and sympathies are with the family at this incredibly sad time. The Canal & River Trust will assist the police in any way we can with their investigation.
“We recognise and share the depth of local concerns reflected in the petition and will work with local partners, including the council, to undertake an investigation and make improvements where possible. At the moment we don’t yet know the full details and circumstances which led to such a tragic death. It will be important to work with the police and others to fully understand the circumstances as part of the process.”