Page last updated at 18:15 GMT, Saturday, 26 September 2009 19:15 UK

Paramedic tells of river rescue

One of the casualties is brought up from the River Dee (Pic: Vic Cleveley)
One of the casualties is brought up from the River Dee (Pic: Vic Cleveley)

An ambulance paramedic has described his dramatic rescue of a semi-conscious father from a river after the man tried to save his son from the water.

Mark Timmins tied a rope around his waist and plunged in to pull the man to safety before he could be swept away.

Mr Timmins said he took a "calculated risk" before going into the River Dee Llangollen, Denbighshire.

The father had jumped in after his son - aged about seven or eight - fell in. Both have been taken to hospital.

The drama began at about 1230 BST when the alarm was raised near the Chainbridge Hotel at Berwyn.

The father and son were out walking when the boy ended up in the river.

Mr Timmins said that when the ambulance crew arrived they could hear shouting from the riverbank, and saw that the semi-conscious boy had been pulled from the river.

Mark Timmins (Pic: Vic Cleveley)
It was one of those situations where if something wasn't done then the guy would have let go and he would have gone down the river and unfortunately he probably would have died
Mark Timmins, paramedic

He left the boy with a doctor, because the main concern was for the father, who was clinging to a rock lower down the river, losing consciousness.

"The danger was that he was going to just let go and off he would go and that was the last we'd see of him," he said.

"So I asked the fire service how we were going to get him out and they said they'd have to wait for the boat rescue service. But unfortunately I knew where that was coming from and that would have been 20 minutes.

"So I risk-assessed the situation and told the firemen to tie some rope around my waist and in I went.

Scrambling and swimming

"So it was a case of just scrambling and swimming over to the gent, who was now further into semi-consciousness, and hauling him onto myself, pulling him above the water and just shouting to the people on the side to pull the rope to get me out with him. And that's what we did really.

"We pulled him out onto the side, and then just assessed him, checked him over, did some examinations, popped a needle into him and some fluid into him, kept him warm and off to hospital.

"It's not a thing we do every day and not a thing I would like to do every day, to be quite honest. But it was one of those situations where if something wasn't done then the guy would have let go and he would have gone down the river and unfortunately he probably would have died.

"You don't know what you are going to do from day to day but it was one of those things. I risk-assessed it and I thought it would be OK for me to do as long as I had the rope around me.

"It was me who volunteered and I went in."

Mr Timmins said the river level was a little lower than usual and relatively calm. The man had been in the water up to 25 minutes, very cold and incoherent.

The paramedic said he was performing part of his duty.

"A lot of people would have done the same thing. The guy was in there, he was in danger of dying.

"I was able to get out there. I took that calculated risk."



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