“I believe the children were playing by the side of the river, but at the moment we are still trying to piece the rest of the circumstances together. The main witnesses are her young children.”
Joe Vacchio, who lives nearby, said there were screams of “I can’t swim” before police and a helicopter arrived. He said the woman lives around the corner from the river and had been diving into the water off small islands with her three children.
In a statement about the 11-year-old boy in Rotherham, a South Yorkshire fire and rescue service spokesman said: “We are all devastated by this tragic incident and our thoughts are with the family and friends of the boy who died.”
The service said there had been 49 incidents involving rescuing people from open water since 2012. People died in three of those incidents.
South Yorkshire police said: “Police received a report at around 7pm that a boy had been seen entering the canal, off Stone Row Way, but had disappeared soon after.
“Specialist resources attended the scene, including South Yorkshire fire andrescue and the ambulance service. The body of the 11-year-old was found in the water at around 11pm. His family has been informed and they are being supported by officers. The circumstances are under investigation.”
On Tuesday a 16-year-old boy drowned while playing with friends in a river in Greater Manchester on the hottest day of the year. Jack Pullen was in the river Etherow when he got into difficulty.
Officers said that while the river appeared shallow and calm there might have been strong undercurrents and submerged hazards. Detectives are investigating reports that the boy became trapped between a bridge and a log.