A STUDENT who was plucked from the River Wear in Durham early today is being interviewed by police in an effort to find out how he came to be in the water.
The 20-year-old, from Northern Ireland, was rescued from the river close to Durham Amateur Rowing Club after a passer-by raised the alarm.
He was taken to the University Hospital of North Durham suffering from hypothermia but has been released and is now being interviewed.
Police officers formed a human chain down the bank at the rowing club to save the man.
PC Simon Cutter was one of the first one the scene and described the rescue operation.
“I could hear someone screaming but I could not see for the life of me where he was,”
“We followed the sound of voices until we came to quite a steep-sided riverbank. We could see there was a young lad at the bottom of it, screaming for us to help.
“Luckily we had brought with us our flotation device. We managed to throw that in but it was quite a challenge because he had been in the water for that long he was growing less and less responsive to what we were saying to him.
“We got him to put this arms through the flotation device and hold on to it, close to his body, so we could haul him out.
“We managed to anchor the rope to a tree nearby in case we went in. We formed a bit of a chain – we had two officers at the front, pulling on the rope, myself and one of my colleagues holding on to their belts to stop them going in and two people behind us, holding on to us.
“We managed to slowly pull him up. The last thing we wanted was for him to slip through, fall backwards and his head be submerged.
“It was only at this point the fire and rescue service arrived, grabbed the end of the rope and we managed to pull him out.
“I managed to pick him up. I had his arm around my neck, my arm around his body. I walked him straight to the ambulance, stripped him off and wrapped him in thermal blankets.
“He had no recollection of what happened at the time. He had been severely affected by the cold.”