An 11-year-old boy pulled dead from a canal had been jumping into the waterway with friends, firefighters have confirmed.1QWEOfficers received a report on Thursday evening that the boy had been seen entering the canal in Rotherham, South Yorkshire, but had disappeared soon afterwards. South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue and the Ambulance Service attended the scene and the boy was found in the water at around 11pm.

Gary Willoughby, from South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue, said: “This 11-year-old boy was actually taking part in a pastime that boys of his age call tombstoning. Unfortunately it’s aptly named. It’s jumping from unknown heights into unknown depths of water.

“They tend to jump straight into the water. They don’t assess the water temperature, they don’t see if there are any dangers hidden under the water – shopping trolleys, cars, anything like that, any reeds they might get tangled in. They don’t even assess how deep the water is before they jump.”

It is understood the rescue operation took place in a stretch of the South Yorkshire Navigation close to a path which crosses the canal over a metal bridge.