A pair of brave teenage pals have been hailed heroes after they saved the life of an elderly woman when she plunged into a freezing river at night.
Joshua Ashley, 16, and Max Kingston, 15, were fishing in Farndon, Notts., when they heard shouting coming from the water at around 8.15pm on Thursday (7/10).
The young anglers raced in the darkness from a scout hut to a nearby pub where they found a 63-year-old woman in difficulty in the River Trent.
The heroic pair then leapt over a locked pontoon gate and were able to pull the woman from the icy waters to safety just as she was “ready to give up”.
Joshua, of Farndon, said: “We waited a few minutes to see if she would shout again. We then saw her in the water, so we helped her out.
“She said thank you for saving her life, but she was in shock so didn’t say much.”
The woman was left freezing on the pontoon for around 15 minutes before a key could be found to get her through the gate.
It was only when a nearby boater became aware of the situation that the gate was unlocked and she could be taken to hospital.
Max called 999 but Joshua’s dad Bill decided to to take the woman to A&E himself after wrapping her in blankets.
Bill, who was at the scene, added: “She was ready to give up when they pulled her out.
“I suspect if she had been in there a minute longer, she’d have given up.
“She was frozen rigid. She hadn’t got the strength to pull herself out.
“I can’t see any reason to put a locked gate out there at all — this just highlights what a problem it is.”
“Teenagers get a bad press but actually, Joshua was really mature and calmed the situation.
“For a couple of teenagers, they managed the situation very maturely.”
The Canal and River Trust has since apologised after it emerged neither of the two contact numbers attached to the pontoon gate belonged to them.
A spokesperson for the Canal and River Trust said: “We’re really sorry to hear of this incident and we hope the woman isn’t too shaken after what must have been a frightening experience.
“The pontoon has a locked gate to provide a safe mooring for boaters using the river after previous instances of anti-social behaviour.
“There is a sign on the gate advising people to call 999 in an emergency but, in light of this incident, we’ll review the situation to see whether additional signage may be useful.”
Greg Cox, divisional director for East Midlands Ambulance Service, said: “I would like to thank the members of the public for their quick-thinking actions of getting the patient out of the water and keeping them warm.
“We received the call and an ambulance was requested and dispatched to attend the scene.
“However, someone was able to take the patient to hospital in their car, and we appreciate the caller letting us know that the ambulance was no longer required.
“If you have your own transport and it safe and appropriate to do so, we encourage people to make their own way to a treatment centre, allowing us to send our ambulances to people who need the life-saving equipment and clinical skills on board.”