Firefighter honoured for saving life of young woman on Sunderland's Wearmouth Bridge

A firefighter has been honoured for his part in saving the life of a young woman on Sunderland's Wearmouth Bridge.

Monday, 20th May 2019, 8:26 pm
Firefighter Adrian Sargent with his certificate

Firefighter Adrian Sargent has been presented with a Certificate of Commendation from Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service Chief Fire Officer (CFO) Chris Lowther , for his meritorious conduct while under extremely challenging conditions.

At around 9.30pm on April 29, South Shields crews were called to the Wearmouth Bridge after receiving reports of a person threatening to jump.

When they arrived, they found the distressed 21-year-old woman on the wrong side of the railings.

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Firefighter Sargent calmly approached the woman, reassuring her in an attempt to gain trust. By listening and supporting, he ultimately persuaded her to let him and another firefighter help her back over the barrier.

She was then handed safely into the care of Northumbria Police and the North East Ambulance Service.

Firefighter Sargent was dispatched to the scene as part of the Service’s rope rescue team. The team comprises a specialist crew that are trained in rescuing people and animals from inaccessible places, such as cliffs, bridges and confined spaces.

CFO Lowther said: "Firefighter Sargent demonstrated compassion, professionalism and bravery in the proficient way in which he undertook his duties, reflecting the high standards set by Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service.

"This was a first class rescue and the way in which he dealt with a very high pressured situation was exemplary – a very fitting act of bravery on the eve of his 18th anniversary of becoming a firefighter.”

After receiving his commendation Firefighter Sargent said: "It was a total surprise and privilege to receive the commendation, I wasn’t expecting it at all.

"It was a challenging two hours but worth every second of it. By the end of it I felt that I’d really built a rapport with her and I’m really pleased we were able to help her.

"I felt really good about what I did to help her but never expected to receive an award – I was just doing my job.

"I’ve been overwhelmed with the response after receiving the commendation, it’s lovely to get some recognition but it’s also sad too as we are seeing more of these types of rescues.

"Please remember that there are people out there you can speak to, help is available.

"On the night of the rescue, it was actually my 18th year of service. I’ve been with Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service for 16 years having started my career at North Yorkshire.

"It’s a privilege to be in this job."