HAMPSHIRE County Council is warning residents not to swim in "extremely dangerous" waters after a boy almost lost his leg.

Anthony McCluskie is lucky to be alive after plunging from a bridge and severely injuring himself at a popular New Forest beauty spot.

His step-mother said that the youngster's injuries looked like he had been "bitten by a shark".

Following the incident, the council is "strongly urging" people not to climb onto highway bridges and structures, and not to jump off them.

The council adds that rivers, ponds and lakes can be extremely dangerous with hazards such as deep water, hidden debris or vegetation below the surface, as well as fast-flowing water.

Ten-year-old Anthony was bleeding heavily when his father dragged him screaming from the Lymington River during the incident on September 1.

Deputy leader of HCC and executive member for economy, transport and environment, Cllr Rob Humby said: “I am sorry to hear that a young man has been injured and I wish him a speedy recovery.

"The bridge parapet at Brockenhurst is not designed for public access, and we have taken measures such as installing anti-climb mesh to discourage access from the footway side.

"We understand that during hot weather, people tend to congregate on the Forestry England land alongside the river, and we believe they may try to climb onto the bridge from here.

"We are in discussion with Forestry England on possible further measures to prevent this."

Anthony has since had two operations and will need multiple skin-grafts.

The youngster, from Preston, had been visiting the New Forest with his family and was due to go home that day.

Like many other children, he had been playing in the river and enjoying his summer holidays.

According to his step-mother, Dotty Clark, he may not be able to walk for months and will have to miss school.

His parents had previously been calling on the council to put up warning signs to stop children jumping into the river.

Dotty said: “Anthony is lucky he has not lost his leg. He will have to have skin grafts. He has horrible injuries but it could have been his life. If it had been his other side it would have cut a main artery."