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Man drowns in Paris canal in front of shocked families

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Man drowns in Paris canal in front of shocked families
17:32 CEST+02:00
A man died in front of shocked parents and children after swimming in the Paris canal on Wednesday next to the open-air pool.

The incident occurred at around 3.30pm at the Bassin de la Villette in the 19th arrondissement of the city next to the temporary open-air pool La Baignade that has been set up for the summer.

Witnesses told The Local the man, believed to be aged in his 30s, was swimming in the canal in an area of water outside the open-air pool when he dived down but did not re-emerge.  

"He was sitting next to me on the edge of the canal bathing his legs in the water when he jumped in," a 21-year-old woman named Firmine said. "He was just swimming around then he dived under but did not come back up.

"We called the lifeguards from the pool next door and they dived into the water but at first they couldn't see anything, they was too much algae.

"They eventually pulled him out of the water but he must have been down there for five or six minutes," the witness said.

Witnesses said that when he was brought out he was bleeding heavily from a wound to his head. It is believed he hit an unknown object underwater when he dived down.

Paramedics from the Pompiers (French firefighters) could be seen trying to resuscitate the man for over 15 minutes in front of shocked onlookers including many children who were queuing to get into the outdoor pool with their parents.

The police set up a cordon around the victim and divers explored the water around where the incident happened. The La Baignade pool was closed to the public.

The victim could not be saved and his body was eventually covered in a white sheet by the side of the water.

Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo tweeted: "Very said to learn that a man in his 30s drowned in the Bassin de la Villette today. My sincere condolences to his family and loved ones."

The incident occurred at a part of the canal that has proved popular with young swimmers on hot days in the summer.

While swimming in the canal is not officially allowed and police have regularly ordered youths out of the water, it continues to attract people looking to take a dip to escape the heat.

The Local has contacted Paris police and firefighters for comment.

Take a dip (and a shower): Paris canal swimming pools open for summer once again(The drowning occurred outside La Baignade in the part of the canal seen at the top of this picture. AFP)

READ ALSO: The dangers of swimming in France's seas, rivers, lakes and pools you need to know about

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