Safety measures improved following death of teen in the Thames

By Rory Poulter

6th Feb 2023 | Local News

A Coroner has welcomed new safety measures at Tagg's Island following the death a 14-year-old in the summer.

Brian Sasu, from Feltham, suffered a 'traumatic neck injury' after jumping in to the Thames from a bridge at the island near Hampton Court

The youngster, who was an aspiring footballer and Chelsea fan, was with a group of friends cooling off in the summer heatwave.

The bridge has been used as a jumping off point by youngsters for many years despite warnings from local residents of the dangers.

A similar issue has been identified at the bridge at Teddington Lock, provoking warnings from the RNLI, police and Richmond Council.

Speaking at an inquest into Brian's death, coroner Dr Anton van Dellen read a statement from Grant Braban, who helped search for Brian in the moments after he jumped.

In it, he pointed out that there was a history of people jumping from the bridge, an issue he had flagged to the police.

Dr van Dellen said: "Brian did what many young people do in the middle of summer which was to go outdoors and enjoy himself with his friends.

"And it is an absolute tragedy that in doing so unfortunately what appears to have happened is that he came by an accident when he jumped off that bridge.

"It must have happened in a fleeting moment when, on July 18, 2022, in the late afternoon on a summer's day, he jumped off Tagg's Island Bridge and unfortunately he appears to have injured himself and hurt his neck and the effects of that meant he had difficulty in the water and then drowned."

The coroner praised the emergency services' efforts to try and rescue Mr Sasu, saying 'a large number of police officers and divers clearly did their absolute best into the early hours of the morning to try and help find Brian'.

Dr van Dellen said he was 'very heartened' to hear of increased safety measures added near the scene since his death, including a throw line, a safety ring and a number of additional signs.

The coroner added: "In my view, I am satisfied that the appropriate steps have been taken to try and reduce risk of death at Tagg's Island."

Brian's parents George and Leticia Sasu and his sister Gloria Sasu attended the inquest.

The coroner read a statement from Gloria Sasu, which said: "Brian is the light of the house and didn't fail to make his family laugh.

"Brian enjoyed playing video games and playing football with his little brother and his friends.

"Brian was an extremely popular and much loved student."

She said he was an 'aspiring footballer' and wanted to play for his favourite team Chelsea, adding: "Brian was a kind, loving boy who will forever remain in our hearts."


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