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Man rescued from river just moments before being swept away

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editorial image

A man was pulled to safety from the River Great Ouse just moments before he was about to be swept away.

Specialist trained water rescue officers from Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service pulled the man from the river just after 9am on Friday morning.

The fire service were called by the police about a man seen in the Ouse near Riverfield Drive, Bedford.

Within minutes a specialist rescue unit, rescue boat and two fire engines were on the scene. Firefighters specially trained in water rescue took to the fast flowing waters in full rescue gear to search for the man.

When they located him, with the help of the police helicopter, they found him clinging by his arms to twigs in the swollen river - his hands had become so cold he could not use them to grip.

As they prepared to rescue him it became clear he was in imminent danger of being swept away from them in the the fast moving river and they decided to undertake a “snatch rescue” to get the man out of the water immediately.

He was then recovered to the riverbank where he was found to be suffering from shock and hypothermia and handed over to the East of England Ambulance Service.

Assistant Chief Fire Officer Dave Fothergill said: “Even for fully trained and equipped firefighters rescues such as this are particularly hazardous and present significant challenges.

“This was a courageous action by our team in extremely dangerous conditions; they took a calculated split second decision to make a snatch rescue when they recognised the threat of the man being swept away from them.

“Rivers and watercourses present significant hazards at all times but are extremely dangerous when in full flood like this.

“People should never go near rivers or water courses in flood conditions and should stay well clear of them whether on foot or in vehicles.”

 

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