Man praised for '˜courageous' role in river rescue drama

A man has been hailed as a hero after a dramatic river rescue on Sunday (September 30).

Tuesday, 2nd October 2018, 12:40 pm
Updated Tuesday, 2nd October 2018, 1:44 pm
Rescue scene ... the River Ouse south of Cliffe Bridge in Lewes. Image: Google Maps

Jack Bennett, 31, did not hesitate when a woman was seen floating in the River Ouse at Railway Lane, Lewes.

The cellarman at the nearby John Harvey Tavern entered the fast-flowing water fully clothed and managed to haul her to the safety of the riverbank in an action described as ‘courageous’.

East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service was called at 6.46pm to reports the woman had fallen in the Ouse and that a man had entered the river to help her.

Crews used a thermal imaging camera, a ladder and water safety equipment to reach them. They were left in the care of the ambulance service.

Watch Manager Green Watch Andy Watson said: “Crews on the scene were extremely grateful of the assistance of a courageous member of the public.

“Jack Bennett, from The John Harvey Tavern, entered the water when he saw the woman in trouble and managed to get her to the riverbank.

“We recognise the danger he put himself in and the selfless way in which he gave aid to a complete stranger. Jack was taken to hospital to get a thorough check and was released that evening.”

He continued: ”Following the successful rescue from the River Ouse by crews from Lewes Fire Station, ESFRS would like to remind everyone of the dangers of being in or near water. Water temperatures are dropping rapidly now and, as is in the case yesterday evening, hypothermia is a very real danger to anyone not wearing the appropriate clothing.

“Another real issue are the unseen dangers that lay beneath the water’s surface that are not readily visible. With the murky consistency of the Ouse you cannot see objects in the water and it is difficult to work out how fast the water is flowing. Onlookers were surprised at the rate in which the woman travelled downstream in what was a seemingly calm river.”

He added: “We advise that if you come across a person in danger, in or near a body of water, dial 999 immediately with as much information as to the exact location as possible and please remember the Shout, Reach, Throw principle to assist the person in trouble but keep yourself safe.”

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