BEST friends who feared they would drown together in the Wear are hoping to trace the man who saved their lives.
Parishe Pattinson, 17, dived into the river to help pal Jade Watson, 16, who had slipped on a railing and plunged into the water.
More than 15 minutes passed with Parishe, of Southwick, holding on to Jade so that she wasn’t swept away by the current.
Then a jogger running along the riverside heard their cries for help.
Speaking from Parishe’s mum Lisa’s home in Rishton Square, Jade, from Red House, said: “I just want to see him and say thanks, because if not for him, we would be dead.”
The pair had been enjoying an afternoon walk down by the riverside across from The Ropery pub, Deptford, near the Queen Alexandra Bridge on Wednesday afternoon.
As Jade was on the phone to a friend, she suddenly slipped from the railing she was sitting on and fell into the water.
“She just slipped in and at first I couldn’t see her, so I jumped in,” said Parishe who, along with Jade, is studying performing arts at Gateshead College.
“I had one hand on the railing and one holding her but I couldn’t pull her up.
“The current was really strong.”
After desperately holding on for almost 20 minutes, the passer-by then spotted the girls, threw a lifebelt towards them and made the all-important 999 call.
“He couldn’t see us at the beginning but when he did he started running to help,” added Parishe.
“There was nothing to hold on to so really I was clinging to the wall.
“We could see builders across the other riverside but they couldn’t hear us.
“We felt proper helpless.”
Volunteers from Sunderland RNLI as well as a police helicopter and fire crews then made it to the scene where a lifeboat pulled them to safety.
Following the incident, Parishe and Jade were then taken to Sunderland Royal Hospital with mild hypothermia before being discharged.
Both girls have skin rashes and sore throats from the ordeal.
Lisa, 39, said: “They are just very lucky.
“The pair of them are like Laurel and Hardy, they’re always together, but nothing like this has ever happened.”
Parishe and Jade also said they would like to thank the RNLI, police and fire service for saving them.
The girls described the jogger as dark haired and 25-years-old. He was wearing red shorts when he saved them.
Are you or do you know the mystery jogger? Call our newsdesk on 501 7208.