VIDEO: Friends pull man from River Wear in Sunderland

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A MAN had to be pulled to safety after falling into the River Wear.

The 38-year-old tumbled into the water shortly after 4.15pm on Thursday, after slipping from an embankment.

RNLI inshore lifeboats

RNLI inshore lifeboats

Footage of the rescue was captured by Sunderland University student Veronica Veselinova.

The 20-year-old said: “I was filming for a student project on the Wearmouth Bridge when I saw the man in the river and a group of people near him.

“I didn’t see the man fall in the river, but we saw the police arrive and rush down to help him.”

The man can be seen being kept afloat by an orange lifebelt, while worried friends waited for emergency services to arrive.

He was rescued from the water by police after about 10 minutes.

A coastguard crew took him to Sunderland Royal Hospital, but his injuries were not thought to be life-threatening.

Senior lifeboat helmsman Paul Nicholson said the rescue highlighted the importance of life rings at the side of the river.

He said: “An incident like this emphasises the importance of public rescue equipment being left in place, because if it is vandalised or removed incorrectly, with the minutes lost, it could mean the different between life and death.”

The man’s fall was reported to Sunderland RNLI, but he was rescued before a lifeboat could be launched.