Rescuers have heaped praise on a Londoner who jumped into the River Thames to save a man’s life.
Ben Corr was running along the South Bank when he was flagged down by a woman, who had just seen someone jump into the water from a railway bridge.
He said: “The lady was quite shaken up – she was pointing to a man in the river and said she’d just seen him jump from the bridge. She was clutching a life ring but wanted some help in throwing it out to him.
“I did try but he was quite far out and the ring missed him. Despite our efforts to coerce him towards it, he was just flailing in the water.”
The 36-year-old statistician said he initially hesitated jumping in – because emergency services often advise against it – before quickly recalculating.
“But after a moment I decided I had to – so I climbed down onto the foreshore, entered the river, and swam across to him.”
Corr said the man initially rejected his help, before eventually accepting the life ring.
“I pulled him back to the South Bank wall but there was no way to get out. The woman who had stopped me explained that she had called the police and barely a minute later the lifeboat crew arrived.”
Craig Burn, a rescuer with the RNLI, a charity who rescues people at sea, said: ‘We got them as they were floating down by the base of the London Eye. There is some machinery there and we were concerned about them floating close to that, but we got to them in time.
“We met with our ambulance service colleagues back at the station and they treated the man who had entered from the bridge. He was cold and shaken and still distressed, and was taken away by ambulance crews for further treatment.
“Ben stayed with us for a short while and we gave him blankets and lots of tea and biscuits. Ben is right that we don’t advise people to go into the water to help people, but he assessed the situation and made a measured, very brave decision to go in. What he did was hugely commendable and we take our hat – or helmet – off to him: there is one man out there today in London who would surely have lost his life if it hadn’t been for Ben and the lifeboat crew.”