A woman has been reunited with the heroes who saved her life after she fell into Leeds’s River Aire in “Arctic conditions” following a night out.
Lou Evans, 20, from Wakefield, met with crew members at Leeds Fire Station today to thank them personally for pulling her out the water near The Calls in the early hours of March 3.
Listen to the 999 call made after drunken Wakefield woman fell in River Aire
Security guard Richard Goc - who won a police commendation in 2015 for his bravery - was also at the reunion because he threw a safety line down to Lou as she held on for her life.
Lou said: “It’s amazing I’ve got to thank them personally, which I wanted more than anything. They saved my life.
“The outcome could have been so different. The fact that I could have died really scares me. I just wish people would be more careful, like I should have been, and not drink so much. Especially when you are in an area close to the river like that.”
During the meeting at the Kirkstall Road station, Lou had a chance to view the CCTV footage of her rescue.
She said: “Seeing my face distressed in the ambulance was quite an image I really got upset about.
“It’s scary seeing yourself in a situation that big. It’s crazy.”
Lou previously said how the incident was a drunken mishap which she described as a “wake up call”.
She had been to a Leeds First Friday cross dressing event with friends before becoming intoxicated and ending up in the river after climbing over a wall during freezing temperatures.
Mr Goc, 43, who works at the Oracle nightclub, lives just by The Calls and after seeing the commotion, requested the padlock code for an emergency throwline and threw it to her.
He said: “I was just relaxing after work at home. I heard somebody shout something.
“When I looked out the window I could only see one person. “I knew instinctively somebody was in the river.
“I saw her clinging to the side for life and rang 999.”
After calling at 3.52am, the fire service arrived at 4.07am, Mr Goc said, and the team effort ensured Lou’s safety.
Firefighter Andrew Sharp, 47, went into the water and pulled Lou out. He said: “I climbed down the ladder into the river and literally carried her out and passed her over.
“She had been in about 15 minutes from going in to the call to us arriving.
“The water was very, very cold. It was Arctic conditions. She was in shock and not in a good place really.”
The force has put throwlines in strategic areas along the river bank for anyone to use during the last year.
And firefighters wanted to remind people that water rescues fall under their remit and said people should stay away from the river during nights out.
But Lou now plans to take a different approach to evenings on the town.
“Netflix and bed by 12,” she joked.