Police officers in dramatic river rescue
THREE police officers have told how they plucked a lifeless man out of a Suffolk river before resuscitating him on a towpath.The 41-year-old man was still fighting for his life in intensive care at Ipswich Hospital last night after nearly drowning in the River Orwell at Grafton Way in the town.
THREE police officers have told how they plucked a lifeless man out of a Suffolk river before resuscitating him on a towpath.
The 41-year-old man was still fighting for his life in intensive care at Ipswich Hospital last night after nearly drowning in the River Orwell at Grafton Way in the town.
It is believed he had jumped in to go for a swim when he got into difficulties.
Police constables Brian Malster, Cheryl Lloyd and Nick Rush told last night how they only just managed to spot the man submerged under the murky water after being called to help.
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Pc Malster and Pc Rush plunged into the cold river, which was almost at high tide, and managed to find him.
And with the help of Pc Lloyd they heaved him up the steep and slippery sides of the river before she started mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.
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Pc Rush said: "He was just limp and very white. He looked dead. Apparently he had been in the water for about 10 minutes, which is a long while."
The three officers had just finished their routine briefing at Ipswich police station at about 4pm on Tuesday afternoon at the start of their shifts when they were called to the scene.
Pc Rush, 30, said: "There was a chap sitting on the towpath in his underpants who had been in the water since he found out that a friend of his had got into difficulties.
"He couldn't find him. He had gone in from the other side of the river, from Burrell Road. We established that the chap definitely hadn't come up.
"Myself and Pc Malster walked down the river a bit and Pc Malster spotted what can only be described as a creamy blob."
The officers decided it must have been the man and went into the water after taking off their jackets and utility belts.
They swam out to the spot where they thought they had seen him and dived down into the water, which was about 10ft deep. After a few seconds, Pc Rush felt his leg brush against the man's head.
The officers managed to drag the casualty, who was about 5ft 11ins with a slight build and was only wearing socks and jeans, to the surface and swam to the riverside.
They then scrambled up the sharp incline of the riverbank, which is concrete and covered in algae and seaweed, with Pc Lloyd, 41, helping them out before they reached the towpath.
Pc Rush, who has been with the force for 11 years, said: "Pc Lloyd was doing the mouth-to-mouth and I did the chest compressions.
"He did not come round but we pumped a lot of fluids out of his lungs, a few pints of water came out."
The police officers continued until the ambulance staff were able to take over and then helped them while the man was given treatment before he was put into the ambulance and taken to Ipswich Hospital.
The police officers said they believed it had been an accident and the man had simply tried to swim in the river.
However Pc Malster, who, in his 17-year career, has also pulled a woman from the River Deben, saving her life, downplayed the rescue saying it simply "had to be done" and it was part of their duty.
The officers did raise their concerns that the nearest safety ring to that stretch of the river appeared to be at Stoke Bridge, but they asserted that people should not try to swim in open water.
Pc Malster, 43, said: "People think they can swim when they can swim a couple of lengths in a pool but open water swimming is completely different.
"You can be a strong swimmer in a pool but that doesn't make you a strong swimmer in open water."