Heroic teen praised for saving drowning boy in Sheffield park

A 14-year-old boy with Asperger’s syndrome has been praised for his bravery after diving into a river to save a drowning child in a Sheffield park.

Zaine Sprung-Storey has been hailed for his bravery after rescuing a little boy from drowning in Millhouses Park, Sheffield

Heroic teenager Zaine Sprung-Storey was walking back with his friends from a basketball court in Millhouses Park when he spotted a boy, aged around four, struggling in the water and screaming for help on Wednesday, July 21.

He immediately took off his rucksack he was carrying and hopped over the bridge and jumped into the water to pull the panic-stricken little boy to safety.

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The incident came four days after a man in his 20s tragically died after getting into difficulty in the water at Crookes Valley Park, prompting warnings from the authorities about the danger of swimming in open waters.

Zaine said: "The boy was really struggling, and his older brother, about a few years older, screamed for help (from the side).

"Fully clothed, I hopped over the bridge, and jumped into the water. The water was really cold. I grabbed him, and got him on my back.

"I don’t think he was English. He couldn't understand me when I told him not to panic… so he was just screaming."

The Newfield Secondary School student said the boy must have accidentally fallen into the river while playing.

Zaine added that the water level was “too deep" even for him, standing at 5ft 11, to touch the ground.

"The water's too deep. I couldn't even stand up...he was holding on to me so tight it started to choke me," he said.

"My mates who hung around on the side of the river got the child off me. As I got out, there were people cheering for me," he said.

He then brought the boy and his brother to the rest of their family who were shocked to learn that their child almost drowned.

"His family weren't there when it happened... They went back to their family and we told them what happened and they thanked me repeatedly."

Zaine, who wants to be a plumber when he grows up, added that he enoyed doing good deeds.

His mum, Jacqueline Storey, 34, told how she was so proud of her eldest child, especially after a terrifying episode involving his health last year.

She revealed that Zaine is on daily medication for life after suffering a stroke during lockdown in July.

"He was born with Asperger’s syndrome. He had suffered a stroke in July during lockdown and was in hospital for a week. There was a blood clot in his brain... I'm just so, so proud of what he’s done,” she said.

She added that the family of the boy he rescued had taken a photograph of Zaine and took his details after the incident, saying they would be in touch to thank him for his bravery, but they haven't heard from the youngster’s family since.

"We also called the Sheffield City Council to notify them about the signage of how deep the water is that needs to be clearer to the public because it is really unsafe,” she said.

"At the same time, we told them what happened and the council congratulated him and they said they will let the school know so he could be recognised for his bravery.”