Heroic police in icy river rescue

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Two Special Constables have been praised for saving the life of a woman who fell into the freezing river Aire in Leeds last night.

Special Constables Mark Spedding and Richard Johnson were working in Leeds city centre when they responded to reports that a woman had fallen into the Aire near to Riverside Court in The Calls area just before midnight.

Both officers, along with door staff from nearby, were able to pull the 22-year-old woman to safety and she was taken to hospital where she was checked and found to have sustained no serious injury.

Superintendent Sam Millar, from Leeds district police, praised the actions of the officers and door staff “for quick thinking and commitment” in rescuing the woman from a situation that could have had fatal consequences.

“The actions of the two Special Constables, who volunteer their free time to work as police officers, epitomises the values of officers and staff who put themselves in dangerous situations to help other people and protect members of the public.

“I would also like to acknowledge the help of the door staff, who alerted the police to the incident in the first place and then went on to helping save the woman’s life.”

Special Constable Mark Spedding, a senior section officer, said: “It was a very cold night and the water was absolutely freezing. When we arrived the woman had already been in the river for a number of minutes and we had to act fast.

“Fortunately, and with the assistance of a nearby doorman, Richard and I were able to pull the woman to safety. It was a team effort and we couldn’t have done it without the help of the doorman, whose name I didn’t get at the time, but who I would like to thank for his role in the rescue.

“The satisfaction of being able to help people in these type of situations is the reason why I volunteer my time as a Special Constable and I’m just pleased we were able to help.”

It is understood that the woman was subsequently detained by police under the Mental Health Act.

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