A STUDENT plucked from the Wear at Durham early today owes his life to a passer-by who raised the alarm, says a senior police officer.
Durham police Assistant Chief Constable Dave Orford said there was no doubt the student owed his life to the person who had raised the alarm.
“If we had not had that call, we could have been looking at a very, very serious tragedy,” he said. “I am certain it would have been a fatality.”
There was no evidence that anyone else was involved, said ACC Orford.
The incident comes just a week after the body of 19-year-old Euan Coulthard was recovered from the Wear at Durham.
Euan was the third student to perish in the river in the last year. Nineteen-year-old engineering student Luke Pearce died in May, while the body of 20-year-old Sope Peters - who was studying economics - was recovered from the river five weeks after he disappeared after a night out with friends in October.
Police believed alcohol had played a part in all four incidents, with officers reporting the man rescued yesterday had been ‘very, very intoxicated,’ said ACC Orford.
“What we are doing now is a very detailed investigation into what happened and we are keeping an open mind,” he said.
“We are tracking back through friends and people he was out with. If we find offences have been committed, we will be taking a very serious approach to prosecution.
Asked if he was linking the four incidents, he replied: “The only link I can make at this point is proximity to the river and the consumption of alcohol.”