Firefighter rescue on the Tyne leads to Fire Authority Awards

Tyne and Wear Fire Authority Chair, Cllr. Barry Curran, today presented Byker Firefighter, Robert Brown, with a Meritorious Conduct Award for his bravery in rescuing a man who had jumped from the High Level Bridge into the River Tyne on 25th June 2018.

TWFA Chair, Barry Curran commented:

“Firefighter Brown was extremely brave and faced considerable physical challenges – especially when swimming against the current to rescue the man. However, his dedication and focus in a dynamically evolving situation, is a testament to his courage and commitment to saving lives. He is a credit to the fire service and his profession.”

Chief Fire Officer, Chris Lowther also presented a Chief Fire Officer’s Commendation to members of Byker Green Watch.

Firefighters from Green, Blue and Red Watch were all involved at the incident. They were: Crew Manager, Mick Connolly; Firefighter Paul Salters; Firefighter Martin Scott; Firefighter Paul Manderson; Firefighter Tommy Richardson; Firefighter Dave Owen, Firefighter Alex Gaukroger and Watch Manager Iain McKinnes.

Our Control team received a 999 call that an adult male was on the wrong side of the barrier on the High Level Bridge. Byker fire crews supported by the Swift Water Rescue Team, arrived at 6pm just as the man had jumped into the river and was floating face down in the water.

The crew, located near to the Quayside Bar (on the Newcastle-side), assisted Firefighter Robert Brown to enter the water, and swim upstream against the current to try and reach him. After an arduous swim he reached the casualty, turned him over, secured his airway and kept him afloat. At the same time the crew in the Fire Boat made their way to him and the casualty. Both were recovered on to the Fire Boat and transported to the NE1 pontoon for recovery. The crews administered First Aid and oxygen to the casualty until he was handed over to paramedics.

TWFRS Chief Fire Officer, Chris Lowther commented:

“It is our firefighters professional skills and judgement that helps to ensure the best possible outcomes when managing challenging incidents. There is no doubt that the swift actions by members of Byker Green Watch in remaining calm during a difficult incident was imperative to rescuing the casualty in a dynamically evolving situation. I’d like to take this opportunity to commend them for their dedication and actions.”