'We held on for dear life': Leeds Man who helped save pensioner from River Aire speaks

A passenger on the Leeds water taxi which saved a drowning man who was moments from death said it was a 'privilege' to save somoeone's life.

Tuesday, 11th June 2019, 15:17 pm
Emergency services tackle a rescue exercise at the River Aire in Leeds city centre in 2016.

Hayden Harris was on board one of the Leeds Dock water taxis when members of the public alerted them to a man in the water.

Mr Harris, a canal boat owner, said: "Myself and the water taxi driver were on the river when we were informed by members of the public that a man was in the water.

Both Leeds Water taxis were involved in the rescue (Picture: Oliver Blackburn).

"He was face down a foot or so underneath the water exhaling bubbles in the last minutes of his life, so I said to Richard 'we have a chance to save him'.

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"We righted him and literally held on for dear life."

Specialist water rescue teams from Leeds then went into the water and got the 70-year-old man on to the water taxi.He was taken to hospital, where his injuries are not thought to be life-threatening.

Mr Harris added: "I speak for myself, Richard the taxi driver, Simon the other taxi driver who brought the wonderful fire people to us, along with fire people in the water, plus the fast acting public who informed us, and the ambulance people, that it's an honour and a privilege to save a person's life.

"It's times such as this that we realise the good in folk."

Leeds Fire Station Watch Commander Richard Potter praised the 'excellent' team work of those involved in the rescue.

It is the second water rescue from the River Aire in 24 hours, with a woman who was suffering with mental health problems being helped to safety on Monday morning.