Bravery award for river rescue cyclist

Members of the Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Authority have presented Paul Stainthorpe with an award for brave and meritorious conduct, after he rescued a man from the River Tyne.

On the morning of 27 August 2019 Mr Stainthorpe, from Ryton, was cycling to work along the Newcastle Quayside when he heard someone fall from the Tyne Bridge and looked back to see a man in the river. After others unsuccessfully tried to throw a life ring to him, Mr Stainthorpe entered the water and swam to the casualty.

Using the life ring, he was then able to help the man through the water to the ladders on the Quayside and hold him there until Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service (TWFRS) crews arrived. Two firefighters climbed down the ladder and kept the casualty secure until the Service’s fire boat reached them.

The TWFRS Swiftwater Rescue Team placed the casualty on the boat, where he was treated by paramedics and North East Ambulance Service’s Hazardous Area Response Team before being taken to hospital with back and shoulder injuries. Meanwhile, Mr Stainthorpe climbed back up the ladder to the safety of the Quayside.

When he received his award at TWFRS Headquarters on 18 November, Mr Stainthorpe thanked the Authority members and praised the professionalism and skill of the fire crews that attended.

TWFRS Chief Fire Officer Chris Lowther commented: “Mr Stainthorpe showed great courage and compassion on that morning. This type of water rescue can be extremely difficult even for trained firefighters, due to the river current, debris and the temperature of the water.

The casualty was very lucky that Mr Stainthorpe was there as without his quick response, there could well have been a tragic end to this story. I’d like to personally thank him for his bravery and commitment to public safety.”