How Safe Are Your Rescuers in a Water Rescue?

Dramatic Footage Shows a River Rescue in Leeds Demonstrating the Dangers of Open Water

The rescue from the River Aire occurred early in the morning of May 21st in The Calls area of Leeds. A man is seen to plunge into the water and struggle to keep afloat as he grasps at vegetation along the walls of the river bank.

Cold water shock quickly sets in and takes away the man’s stamina, and It is soon clear he is fighting a losing battle for survival with the water as he starts to dip below the surface whilst dropping in and out of consciousness.

Fortunately the CCTV operatives spotted the victim and immediately raised the alarm with the emergency services, pinpointing the exact location of the rescue.

Firefighters from Leeds Fire Station Blue Watch, who are trained in swift water rescue were close by at the time of the emergency and were on the scene in a matter of minutes followed by colleagues from West Yorkshire Police.

In this situation, there is the dramatic moment as two firefighters sprint towards the casualty to prepare to rescue him. Immediately one firefighter dives into the hazard zone with no buoyancy aids, just a line attached so he can be dragged back to safety. After this, he even begins struggle causing his team member to jump down onto the platform and assist him save the life of another.

This brings up the question of ‘‘How safe are your rescuers in a Water Rescue?’’. This situation is a clear implication that Water Rescuers are still putting themselves at high risk by putting themselves into hazardous zones where the casualties have been spotted in struggle. It is fortunate in this event that the brave firefighter successfully rescued the casualty with the assistance of his colleagues.

We believe that rescuers should have minimum or no risk in water rescues and that is why the Reach and Rescue System is so effective in its main feature, operator safety.  In scenarios like the one we see here, the Rescue operation would have been completely different, it would have been a lot quicker, a lot more efficient and most of all, significantly safer.

Water Rescue, Operator Safety, Rescue Stick, Man overboard, Pole for Water Rescue, West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service

West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service completing a river training excercise. Picture – Scott Merrylees

We hope that Rescue Services will recognise that these tragedies can happen and respond to ensure the safety of the heroic servicemen that rescue countless lives every day.

 At Reach and Rescue we Endeavour to supply rescue services top of the range Lifesaving equipment that will assist water rescues in all types of situations, without risking anymore people who get involved.

Even if you would like to try some of our Award Winning Equipment, do not hesitate to give us a Ring at +44 (0)330 159 5088 or please Email for a much more in depth guide of what Reach and Rescue is all about.


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