TWO teenage girls are lucky to be alive after they were saved from drowning in the Wear thanks to a passing jogger.
A 17-year-old fell into the water on the north side of the river, opposite the Ropery pub, in Deptford, near the Queen Alexandra Bridge.
Her 16-year-old pal bravely dived in to help her – but she also began to struggle as it was too high to reach the bank to scramble out.
Luckily, a man who was jogging along the river on the Deptford side, heard their screams for help and rang 999.
A police helicopter and fire crews were sent to the scene.
Firefighters helped the stricken teenagers stay afloat until a lifeboat arrived to pull them to safety.
Paul Nicholson, of Sunderland RNLI, hailed the intervention of the man who raised the alarm.
“The jogger was running past at the time, minding his own business, when he heard these girls shouting for help – it was literally that lucky.”
“He used a mobile phone to call 999 for help. He was fantastic and did an amazing job.”
“The girls were cold and very shaken but very lucky and, obviously, very glad to be out of the water.”
“The girls have struggled to get out of the water, because the quay at that side of the river is about 6ft high.
“The fire brigade has kept them afloat with one of their lines with a float on the end while waiting for the RNLI to arrive.”
The incident happened at 4.45pm yesterday.
The teenagers were taken to Sunderland Royal Hospital, where they were treated for mild hypothermia.
Mr Nicholson added: “All we can say is that these girls were very, very lucky, and we would encourage everyone to make sure they stay on the correct side of safety railings when near the river.”
Ian Rowan, also of Sunderland RNLI, said: “They owe their lives to the man who was jogging along the river bank and heard their shouts for help.”
Do you know the hero jogger or the two girls? Call our newsdesk on 501 7208.