Video: Tragic end to 4-hour Leeds River Aire rescue bid

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A man’s body was pulled from the River Aire in Leeds city centre after a passerby’s 999 call sparked a painstaking four-hour search.

Police were yesterday trying to identify the man, who was discovered by police divers shortly after noon.

Police search the River Aire at Leeds Bridge. PIC: Simon Hulme

Police search the River Aire at Leeds Bridge. PIC: Simon Hulme

Emergency services were initially called to a stretch of the river around Leeds Bridge, near the Adelphi pub, at about 8am following reports of a man in the water.

A witness had seen him in the river, though it was unclear if he had fallen or jumped in. Other eyewitnesses took to social media to report what they had seen.

One Twitter user wrote: “My body actually just went cold. Man face down in the river as my bus passes emergency services.”

Another said: “Horrible scene at Leeds Bridge right now. Emergency services everywhere after man spotted face down in River Aire under the bridge.”

As rain fell, officers in a canoe initially carried out a search using poles.

They were then supported by divers from the Yorkshire and The Humber Marine Unit – a specialist police team that works with all four forces in Yorkshire and Humberside.

The search was called off after the body was discovered around midday.

The marine unit tweeted: “We have completed today’s search, sadly we have recovered a body from the River Aire at Leeds.”

Detective Inspector Marc Bowes, of West Yorkshire Police, said: “At this stage the incident is being treated as an unexplained sudden death.”

The Leeds Coroner’s Office has been informed and an inquest will open in due course.

Anyone who has any information that could assist the investigation is asked to contact officers at Holbeck police station via 101, quoting log number 0208.

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