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Hero police officers in lifesaving rescue

Posted onPosted on 16th Mar

Police officers who hauled a man to safety after he fell off his house boat into the water has been hailed ‘real life heroes’.

Response officers arrived within seven minutes of the 999 call to Newark Marina and heard screams of help to find Timothy Smithen and pull him out of the freezing river.

Wife Janet Smithen emotionally recalled the events: “Without the officers arriving, Tim would have died. I have no doubt about that.

“I had a hold of him, but that grip was loosening and I couldn’t hold onto him for much longer.

“It was like living in a nightmare. A hugely surreal experience, but they arrived so quickly and thank god they did, because if they didn’t, he wouldn’t be here today.

“It was absolutely incredible. I can’t thank the police enough. They are real life heroes.”

The man had fallen in at around 4am in the early hours last month having enjoyed a few drinks when he fell into the water, getting his leg stuck under the jetty.

His partner woke up to see her husband of four years hadn’t come to bed and went to search for him. She frantically looked around the boat, until she spotted her husband’s head in the water.

She managed to keep hold of him and tried to keep him above water.

The 58-year-old added: “I thought he was dead. He was so calm in the water, he wasn’t panicking or splashing about. His face was so pale, but he managed to just say ‘help’.

“I managed to get him to a ledge, but I was just shouting, screaming for help. I just didn’t want to let him go.

“But then I knew I couldn’t do it anymore, I had to make that phone call, but I didn’t have my mobile on me.

“I was in my dressing gown, so I took the decision to go find a phone and call the police. I knew that might have been the last time I see him.

“I got hold of the police and they kept me calm, so I could to them where we were, whilst I rushed back and Tim was still there.

“They quickly found that his leg was trapped between the boat and the jetty and hauled him back to safety.

“Once he was out they got Tim some blankets and got him warm as he must have been in the water for more than 25-minutes or so.

“He was put into an ambulance and taken to hospital for a check over, but thankfully he only suffered cuts and bruises and hypothermia. He was home within a few hours.”

Police Constable Ash Bramley was the first on the scene. He said: “It was quite a chaotic scene, Janet was very distressed as you might expect with her husband in the water and being unresponsive.

“She did really well to hold onto him for those crucial minutes and call the emergency services.

“When we got there, Tim’s whole body was being submerged, so we had to act immediately. Luckily there were colleagues nearby and we were able to get him out.

“We hear he’s made a full recovery, so that’s obviously great news and makes this role huge rewarding and satisfying when your able to make a difference.”

Inspector Heather Sutton, District Commander for Newark and Sherwood, said: “This was fantastic work by PC Ash Bramley and his team. They were first on the scene and extraordinarily managed to save the man’s life.

“The conditions were tricky, as it was obviously pitch black and a cold February evening, so the water must have been freezing.

“This is a fantastic example of response officers being in the area and rapidly attending a serious incident.

“Officers were called at around 4am on 26 February 2021 to Newark Marina following a report of a man had entered the water. They were able to stay calm and think quickly to ensure his life was saved.

“It was a real team effort with the local fire service all supporting each other, with a real positive result.

“I’d like to praise them all for their bravery. Had it now been for their speedy and brave actions I think that this story would have had a tragic ending.”