The family of the 15-year-old boy who drowned in the River Thames in May have hit out at the response of the emergency services after a court heard about their attempts to rescue him.

A coroner at the inquest into the death of Maidenhead teenager Jordan Veira, who died after slipping under the water at Bourne End on May 31, ruled his death was accidental in a hearing yesterday (November 4). 

Members of the public and friends alerted the emergency services to Jordan’s situation at 3pm on the day of his death, but divers were not called to search the water until later that evening after the authorities decided to switch from a rescue operation to a body recovery search.

READ MORE: Everything said at the inquest into the death of Jordan Veira

Speaking to the press as the conclusion came in, Jordan’s father questioned the response of the emergency services and asked ‘what chance did he have?’

‘Sad and unbelievable’ 

The coroner’s court heard evidence from senior police officers who led the rescue response in the minutes after a 999 call was made following Jordan’s disappearance. 

Here, it emerged police were alerted to Jordan’s situation at just before 3pm. 

Officers were at the scene by 3.15pm and a joint emergency services meeting was held at 3.40pm to come up with a plan of action.

Sergeant Steven Westbrook said the Bucks Fire and Rescue service took charge of the operation and set about putting a number of boats into the water within 20 minutes of the 999 call.

After 90 minutes of searching, there was a 'joint reluctance' to make the call to switch from a rescue operation to a recovery operation, Sgt Westbrook said. 

A dive team was called as a matter of 'last resort' and they entered the water at 9pm. 

Jordan was found just after 3am on June 1. 

READ MORE: Tributes paid to 'treasured' teen who died in river 

A statement given by a member of the public who saw Jordan ‘bobbing up and down’ in the water was read out during the inquest. 

It read: “What I can't get over was there were plenty of people around and no one seemed alarmed by what was going on.

“I keep playing it over and over in my mind and keep seeing him slip below the water.”

Berkshire senior coroner Heidi Connor said in her conclusion it was “unlikely in the extreme”  that “even if the fire service had arrived soon that Jordan could have been saved.”

But Jordan’s father, Shaun Veira, questioned the response of the emergency services and their decision to switch from a rescue operation to a recovery operation in a statement given as the conclusion came in. 

He said: “It is very sad and unbelievable that calls to help a child who disappeared under the water did not trigger an urgency from those that could save him and a determination to find and rescue him from that water. 

“What chance did he have?

“It further saddens me to my soul that further calls to alert the public on the beach that day were met with lethargy and disinterest. 

“What chance did he have?

“This can’t happen again. Save our children, not just recover.”

Sabrina Brathwaite, Jordan’s aunt, added: “Going to a scene is one thing, but going to a drowning and not being prepared enough and waiting to make a decision and then saying that enough time had passed already and they were moving from a rescue to a recovery operation… what is that about?

Jordan’s uncle said: “I think to some extent they were not coordinating properly. Every second spent here was a second where Jordan could have been saved. 

“In general I think the whole approach needs to be overhauled.”

‘This is a much deeper problem’

Coroner Ms Connor ruled there was no third-party involvement in Jordan’s tragic death, that the 15-year-old did not have drink or drugs in his system at the time of his death, and that he died by drowning. 

She also issued a Regulation 28 Order, which will compel the National Trust (the landowners where Jordan died) and the Environment Agency to disclose how they are intending to prevent further incidents at the river. 

This came after a Mr Robert Miles, the general manager for the Clifton estate for the National Trust. 

READ MORE: Mother of drowned teenager calls for more signs at Bourne End spot

He told the court the Trust was only made aware of Jordan’s death in October -- more than four months after the 15-year-old passed away. 

Mr Miles also played down the significance adding new water-safety signs to the Bourne End land.

He said: “We need to be very careful about just sticking up signs and thinking the job is done', he said. 

“We need to think long and hard about what other safety measures are needed at this spot. 

“It's a much, much deeper problem than putting signs up. It's about educating young people.

“When you get a group of young people going to enjoy themselves at the river, they won't be put off by a sign saying it's dangerous to swim there.

“'This incident has brought this area to my attention and we are very keen to make any changes we need to going forward.”

But Jordan’s mother, Sibo Veira, called out Mr Miles’ apparent unwillingness to commit to doing something 'more aggressive in terms of adding harder safety measures.

She said: “Look after your visitors on your land. Whether it's unsightly or whatever the reason is you don't want to put signs up, at least you can say you tried your best.”

Mr Miles responded: “I think it's a wider problem. The reason I don't want to promise you things is because I'm surrounded by experts at the National Trust far cleverer than me who will have a view on this.”

‘Beautiful memories’

Before the conclusion came in, Ms Veira paid an emotional tribute to her son. 

She said he liked sushi, pizza, fried chicken and cereal, enjoyed playing sports and supported Arsenal, and ‘dreamt of marriage and having kids’. 

Ms Veira added: “He [Jordan] was a fun-loving teenager. 

"He was developing into a lively young man.

"He was full of life and he loved his life. He loved his friends and his family very much. 

"The incident was very tragic and traumatising for us as a family and for his friends.

"We all miss him terribly. 

"We are all heartbroken by his sudden departure. 

"All we have left now are beautiful memories."

The inquest took place at Reading Town Hall on Thursday, November 5.