'I was the woman rescued from the River Aire in Leeds at 4am - and I want to explain why'
A woman who was rescued from the River Aire in Leeds city centre has come forward to explain what happened - and issue a warning to others.
Today Lou Evans, aged 20, came forward to explain exclusively to the Yorkshire Evening Post how she ended up being taken from the river by fire fighters at 4am on Saturday morning.
Lou said the incident was not an attempt on her life - as some had mistakenly assumed - but a drunken mishap which she described as a 'wake up call'.
She said: "I thought I was going to die for sure. I remember climbing over a wall or barrier and then I'm in the water - my mouth filled with water, not being able to breathe was really frightening."
Lou had been to a cross dressers meet called Leeds First Friday before becoming intoxicated and ending up in the river.
She added: “I had been to an event in the Leeds city centre called “Leeds First Friday”, where transgender women like myself and cross dressers can meet each other at The Cosmopolitan in Leeds, somewhere safe where we know we can be ourselves in peace.
"Fast forward to around 4 am Saturday morning I was very intoxicated and left to go home from the New Penny. At the time I wasn’t even aware I was anywhere near a river, I remember climbing over a wall or barrier and then I’m the water my mouth filled with water not being able to breathe it was really frightening.
"I thought that I was going to die for sure, I got to the surface of the water after struggling and my friend Claire was there screaming my name, I was in the water for about 20 minutes I was told but the temperatures made it feel like hours.
"It was a drunken accident and I want to personally thank everyone who was involved in rescuing me, I urge people to take care while drinking for me it could have been a different ending , bruised and scraped but I’m alive , lucky and thankful."
Lou, who lives in Wakefield, added: "Hopefully I make it to 21, it has definitely gave me a wake up call and I needed it."
A member of the public had requested the padlock code for an emergency throwline along the river, which is used to help pull people to safety.
A spokesperson said: "On arrival of the fire service the female was removed from the water, handed over into the care of ambulance and transported to hospital."