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TWFRS Throwbag training leads to life-saving response

Date02 July 2018

TWFRS throw bag training leads to life-saving rescue from the River Tyne

In the early hours of Sunday 1st July, a man was rescued from the River Tyne - thanks to throw bag-trained pub staff. Staff from By The River Brew Co recently received throw bag training from Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service (TWFRS).

Throw bags are used to rescue conscious casualties who are able to assist themselves, they are thrown out to individuals within the water which allows the rescuer to then pull them to safety. Fortunately, due to the initiative carried out recently on the quay side, throw bags are now located along both sides of the river.

At 2.25am on Sunday, staff from the company, based on Gateshead Quay, saw a man enter the water and attempt to swim across the river. One staff member located a throwbag and ran to the Swing Bridge where they could see the man in the water, near to the NE1 Pontoon. Following their training they shouted at the man and threw the bag for him to catch. His colleague dialled 999 to raise the alarm giving us the exact location and details. Other staff went to the pontoon with blankets for when the man was pulled out of the water. 

Our Swift Water Rescue Team (SWRT) was dispatched from Byker along with fire engines from Newcastle and Gateshead community fire stations.  A trained SWRT swimmer reached the man and helped retrieve him from the water at the pontoon where North East Ambulance Service (NEAS) paramedics had arrived.  

Coincidentally, together with the RNLI, today TWFRS staff completed the throw bag training for the remaining staff of By The River Brew Co.  

TWFRS Area Manager, Lynsey McVay said:  “This is a great example of the community responding in a real emergency. The bar staff were brilliant in following their throwbag training in the most dramatic of circumstances. Our crews responded quickly and we were all able to work together to rescue someone and avoid a potential tragedy. The gentleman was then handed over to NEAS.

"This incident proves just how important and effective throw bag provision and training is, particularly for those who work near the river. This enables the bar staff to have the confidence to deal with life threatening incidents. We would also welcome any other companies – particularly hospitality companies located near open water - to consider how we can help train them and their staff.”    

Pictured are staff from the By The River Brew Co who helped rescue the casualty.

L to R – Station Manager Dave Linsley, Phil Hall, Ben Anderson, Graeme Moffit, BTRBC MD Dave Stone, Nick Ayres from the RNLI, Firefighter Tommy Richardson and Sam from the RNLI.