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Sheffield man commended for life-saving actions

A man from Sheffield has been commended by South Yorkshire’s Chief Fire Officer for helping to save a woman’s life last year, after she became trapped in a river.

Cole Johnson was walking across a bridge near Broadfield Road with his girlfriend, at around 8.30pm on Thursday 12 July, when he noticed a body in the water below.

On closer inspection he realised it was a woman – who was stuck with potentially serious head injuries – and immediately entered the water to help.

He used his jacket to stem the bleeding from her head, ensured she stayed still to prevent any spinal injuries and stayed with her, offering reassurance and support, until emergency services arrived.

“What Mr Johnson did, in selflessly getting into the river to help, was clearly a heroic act. He potentially saved a life,” said Assistant Chief Fire Officer, Tony Carlin.

“Even in summer open bodies of water are much colder than they look, yet he still got in there and spent at least 30 minutes supporting this woman.

“Our firefighters, and ambulance colleagues, worked swiftly to get her to safety, but without his intervention and bravery the outcome could have been much worse.”

In recognition of his actions, Cole will be awarded the highest level of recognition and thanks available from a fire and rescue service – a Chief Fire Officer’s commendation – that will be presented at a ceremony tomorrow at Rivelin Fire Station.

This award goes to people who have demonstrated meritorious conduct – putting themselves at some sort of risk to save a life in a hazardous situation.

“It was a nice summers evening and we’d just been in the park when I saw what looked like a body in the river,” said Cole reflecting on the incident, over eight months on.

“As I climbed down the river bank to get a closer look I realised it was a woman stuck, then something just switched in me. I just wanted to make sure she was OK so I got in and used my jacket to stop the bleeding from her head wound.

“I didn’t really want to move her out of the water as I didn’t know whether she’d got spinal injuries, so I just kept her still and spoke to her until help arrived.

“People kept thanking me afterwards but I didn’t really feel like I had done anything. It was a really strange experience, but I’m just glad the ambulance crew was able to give her the help she needed.”

This content was last updated on February 15th, 2019