Onlookers failed to help drowning man 'and took selfies' after he fell into deep river in Yorkshire

6 November 2023, 08:22 | Updated: 6 November 2023, 10:51

The man fell into the River Ouse and was eventually rescued
The man fell into the River Ouse and was eventually rescued. Picture: North Yorkshire Police

By Asher McShane

Nobody came to the help of a drowning man who fell into a river in Yorkshire, with witnesses saying some were even taking selfies at the time.

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Police said the man fell into the River Ouse, behind the Radisson hotel in York on Thursday afternoon.

North Yorkshire police said there wasn’t "any apparent attempt to throw him a life ring."

He was eventually rescued when police arrived some time later- with a life ring thrown to him. Police said there were two life rings within 50 metres of the location.

A spokesman for North Yorkshire Police said: “Crowds gathered on Ouse Bridge and surrounding walkways, watching the man struggle to keep his head above water, without any apparent attempt to throw him a life ring.”

The man, who has not been named, is now in hospital recovering.

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Posted by North Yorkshire Police on Friday, November 3, 2023

North Yorkshire Fire Service has produced a video about how to use a life ring. The public are being urged to watch it following the incident.

Sgt Toby Gorwood, who attended the rescue, said: “It’s always worth making a mental note of life ring locations along your local river in case you ever need to help someone in trouble.

"Floatation aids allow you to do this while minimising the danger to yourself, which is also important.

"Those vital seconds can make all the difference."

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A fire service spokesperson said bystanders should not jump in the water but rescue attempts could be made with sticks, scarves and other items of clothing.

Debbie Christine Le Brun posted: "To all those standing around watching, they should be ashamed of themselves. Let's hope you never require assistance and feel the pain of people walking by.

"No one asked you to jump in. Just to throw the Life ring and hold the rope. Thank you to the two officers that came to the rescue and I hope the person gets well."

Timmy Dellor posted: “I was driving past and saw the commotion and someone told us there was a guy in the water. There were people taking selfies with it all going on in the background. Lost for words.”

Daniel Perkins said: “Well done to the officers involved. I think we’ve lost our safety awareness for this sort of stuff.”