New throwline saved woman’s life in River Aire in Leeds city centre: Five people have died in city’s waterways in three years.

Lou Evans was rescued from the River Aire

FIVE people have died and 23 people have been injured in incidents in waterways in Leeds district in the past three years, according to figures released by West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service.

Firefighters rescued a total of 79 people from waterways across the city during the same period from 2015 to 2017.

One of the emergency throwlines next to the River Aire in Leeds city centre

Fire chiefs released the statistics after revealing an initiative to have throwlines installed along the River Aire saved a woman’s life at the weekend.

A total of 11 throwlines have been installed between Neville Street and Asda House in Leeds on both sides of the river.

Lou Evans, 20, of Wakefield, was pulled from the river by firefighters at Riverside Court at 4am on Saturday after falling in from what she admitted was a “drunken mishap” after a night out.

Fire crews arrived to find her in the water clinging on to the throwline, which had been successfully deployed by a member of the public.

14 April 2015 ....... Firefighters stage a water rescue at the River Aire behind Asda House, Southbank, Leeds. Picture Maisie Coulbert

She managed to hold on long enough in temperatures of -2C for Leeds crews to rescue her.

Watch Commander Phil Rhodes said: “We got there just in time. Had it not been for the throwline she may have perished in the freezing temperatures without something to hold on to.”

Miss Evans said: “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.”

The throwlines were installed in April 2017 in conjunction with Leeds City Council. They are secured in a lock box.

On discovering someone in the water, members of the public should follow the instructions on the marker board.

Assistant chief fire officer Ian Bitcon, said: “West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service is committed to eliminating deaths by drowning in Leeds City Centre and we will work tirelessly with our partners to achieve this challenging goal. We are delighted the throwline initiative has paid off and this young woman has been rescued in very perilous conditions.”

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