Rescue drama as woman swept into river

SHAUN LOWTHORPE A woman fishing with her dad was lucky to be alive after being swept away by strong currents along a river in the centre of Norwich.

SHAUN LOWTHORPE

A woman fishing with her dad was lucky to be alive after being swept away by strong currents along a river in the centre of Norwich.

Firefighters, from Red Watch, based at Earlham, carried out a dramatic rescue on Saturday night after the alarm was raised at about 6.20pm.

The woman, who was in her 20s, had fallen into the water at New Mills Yard, close to Westwick Street.

Such was the strength of the current, bolstered by recent heavy rainfall, that she was carried several hundred yards to the Duke Street bridge.

Her father also fell in as he tried to rescue her, but was able to maintain a hold on the side until being pulled out of the water by police.

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Richard Herrell, Norfolk Fire Service's group manager for the Norwich area, said officers had tried to throw a line to the woman to pull her out.

When this failed three officers formed a human chain to fish the woman from the water.

A rescue boat was also on standby at Fishergate in case the rescue attempt failed.

“She was telling us she couldn't go on and was rapidly losing her strength,” he said. “That's when the crews went in. The woman was moving in the river towards Duke Street bridge at quite a pace.

“We managed to drop a line to her, which she got hold of. But she had been in the water for quite a time and was starting to lose her strength and went under the bridge.

“The river is in flood at the moment and they were faced with a split decision whether to go in or not. She was a bit shaken by the experience and very cold.”

Mr Herrell, said flooding meant river users needed to be extra careful and wary of the dangers of the water.

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