Police have revealed their concern that members of the public didn’t throw a life ring to a man they saw struggling in the river in York.
And they have urged the public to know how to respond in a future emergency.
As YorkMix reported, the man was rescued from the swollen River Ouse after police and the fire rescue boat stepped in yesterday afternoon (Friday).
The police officers who were first on scene were able to quickly find a life ring and throw it to the man.
They kept talking to him and ensured he could keep his head above water until the fire service boat arrived and pulled him out of the river.
He was taken to hospital where he is recovering today.
Large crowds gathered on Ouse Bridge and surrounding walkways watching the man struggle to keep his head above water, without any apparent attempt to throw the man a life ring.
Police used one of two floatation devices in North Street Gardens, around 50m from the scene.
Neighbourhood Policing Sergeant Toby Gorwood attended yesterday’s 999 call.
He said: “Life rings and other floatation devices are located at regular intervals along the River Ouse and other major waterways.
“It’s always worth making a mental note of life ring locations along your local river in case you ever need to help someone in trouble. Floatation aids allow you to do this while minimising the danger to yourself, which is also important.
“Those vital seconds can make all the difference.”
North Yorkshire Fire Service has produced this short educational video about how to use a life ring, which firefighters have urged people to watch in light of yesterday’s incident.
A fire service spokesperson said knowing what to do and acting on it saves lives, adding: “Shout for help and dial 999 and ask for the fire service at inland water sites or the coast guard if you’re at the beach.
“Reach with a long stick, a scarf, clothes or anything else. Crouch or lie down to avoid being pulled in.
“If possible, throw a rope – you can then pull in the person. Otherwise throw something that will float – a ball, a plastic bottle or a lifebuoy. Do not jump in to try to save them.”