At 01.15 this morning a male entered the water at the town bridge in Coleraine and was quickly swept downstream in fast flowing waters.
Police and Community Rescue Service (CRS) responded within minutes and the male was recovered from the river in a joint operation between police and CRS. The casualty was taken by CRS boat accompanied by police to Christie Park and was then transferred to hospital to be treated for water immersion and hypothermia.
The male is expected to make a full recovery.
CRS Regional Commander, Sean Mc Carry said ” I cannot praise the response teams from police and the CRS enough. Without their quick and professional reaction and response there is no doubt that this person who found themselves in extreme difficulty and danger had little or no chance of survival.
This was a situation where a moment’s delay could have cost a life and the actions of all involved starting with the police team in their control and ending with the very fast ambulance service response has ensured that the outcome was positive”
CRS are the Lowland RescueTeam who cover all of NI for missing person on behalf of the PSNI.
CRS are a entirely voluntary charity who also provide rescue cover on the inland rivers including the Bann and Lagan.
A police spokesperson said : “This morning ( Thursday 21st September ) officers from Coleraine Neighbourhood Policing Team responded within 30 seconds of a 999 call from a vigilant member of the public who spotted a distressed man on the wrong side of the Old Bridge in Coleraine.
Having arrived and found that the man was agitated and upset they attempted to reason and negotiate with him to no avail and sadly he chose to jump into the icy cold water of the River Bann. Undeterred by this the officers immediately deployed rescue lines on both sides of the river and with the rapid support of colleagues from C Section Coleraine the officers searched by torch light in an attempt to locate this male in the cold dark waters.
After repeated attempts to get this male to grab the rescue lines, officers showed incredible bravery by entering the water and wading out to bring this man to the shore and having done so managed to save his life. Having been in the water for over 5 minutes and clearly suffering from the effects of the cold water this man was then taken to a waiting ambulance for treatment at Causeway A&E.
Possibly the most surprising part of this incident is that the 6 officers involved returned to Coleraine PSNI station, changed their uniforms and returned to patrol duties to continue”