A Christmas reveller who fell into the River Aire is lucky to be alive firefighters said today.
The man, said to be in his 40s, was pulled from the freezing waters some 15 minutes after falling in.
He had already developed hypothermia and was rushed to hospital.
The incident prompted a major response from the emergency services with police, fire and ambulance crews attending the scene on Dock Street, Shipley.
The police helicopter was used and fire crews used thermal imaging cameras to scan the river two miles downstream in case others had fallen in.
They were only alerted to the emergency after the man’s distressed calls were heard by two nearby residents.
A spokesman from Shipley Fire Station said: “Two lads in a flat which overlooks the river were sat with their window open and they heard his calls. At that stage he had been in the water for about 10 or 15 minutes. He was unable to get out and was clinging to tree roots. We pulled him out and he was taken straight to hospital. He has had a lucky escape, if those lads hadn’t heard him, he would be dead.”
He added: “This should serve as a warning to anyone who is going out over Christmas to have a drink near the canal or river.”
Fire crews from Shipley, Idle, Bingley, Brighouse and Leeds attended the incident.