Malmesbury teenagers acted to aid river rescue
A group of Malmesbury School students helped save a woman after she fell into a river and was unable to get out.
Year 9 pupil James Munday and his friends Ben Smith, CJ Egerton, Dani Francis, Ali Cummings and Sam Felstead were in a park near King’s Wall at around 1pm on Saturday when they heard cries for help.
James, 14, said: “We heard someone call ‘help me’ from the river and we saw her mobility scooter and dog on the bank.
“She was a 56-year-old disabled woman, and she had a prosthetic limb up to her knee.
“We tried to pull her up but the bank was too steep and slippery – she had fallen into the water but managed to pull herself to the bank with her walking stick.
“She looked at me and that’s when I knew I had to call 999. She was in the water for about an hour and didn’t have any injuries, she was just extremely cold.
“The paramedics arrived about 30 minutes later, the fire service about an hour after, and eventually the ambulance after about an hour and a half.
“CJ called the woman’s friend, I called 999 and gave directions from the police to my friends to stay on top of the bank and look for the ambulance. Sam and Ali got their parents.
“When we first found her we were so scared. We were going to go in the water but the mud was so thick and deep and her leg was limp so she couldn’t move. Seven firemen pulled her out of the water.
“She couldn’t speak and she was so blue.”
The woman was taken to Swindon’s Great Western Hospital to be treated for possible hypothermia.
Wayne Jones, fire station manager, said: “The lady had a limited ability to move, and had fallen in after attempting to recover a toy used by her dog.
“We deployed a first responder water rescue team to stabilise the situation and to make sure she was okay.
“After an assessment with the ambulance we assisted her to the bank and left her in care of the ambulance.”
Malmesbury School headteacher Tim Gilson said: “I am incredibly proud of this group of students who behaved in a very caring and responsible manner.
“This is not an easy time to be growing up and young people come in for a lot of undeserved criticism. We feel very fortunate to have the opportunity to work with them and see first-hand what they are really like.”