Throw-bag saves woman’s life on Newcastle Quayside

A photograph of the TWFRS fire boat pictured on the River Tyne

Life-saving equipment installed on Newcastle’s Quayside is already proving its worth – after a woman was rescued from the River Tyne.

Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service (TWFRS) and Newcastle City Council this week announced the instalment of 14 new throw-bag boards on the Quayside.

The city council had invested more than £10,000 in the boards to replace life rings along the River Tyne that had regularly been damaged or stolen.

In the event of someone entering the water a member of the public, or a first responder, would locate the board, call 999, ask for the fire and rescue service and use a code provided to gain access to a throw-bag.

TWFRS, together with the RNLI have already delivered training to partners and hundreds of staff at riverside businesses on the Quayside.

And today they have revealed one of the new throw-bags has already been used to save a life after a woman entered the water at the weekend.

At around 1.15am on Saturday (April 22nd) a call was made to 999 reporting a woman located in the river on the Newcastle Quayside.

Northumbria Police were the first officers on scene, and were able to access the throw bag and secure the woman in place in the water.

A short time later firefighters from Byker Community Fire Station, piloting the fire boat, arrived on scene and were able to bring her to safety.

The woman was taken to hospital by paramedics from North East Ambulance Service but thankfully she did not suffer any life-threatening injuries.

Group Manager Steve Thomas, of TWFRS, said: “Thanks to the swift actions of police, paramedics and firefighters, a woman was brought to safety and did not suffer any life-threatening injuries. I want to say a huge well done to everyone involved.

“It is excellent to see that this equipment is already saving lives but this is no surprise to us, we carry throw-bags on every fire engine and know how effective they can be.

“We know that life rings previously installed on the Quayside were hard to secure and were often damaged or stolen, meaning they weren’t available to be used in an emergency.

“But these throw-bag boards mean the equipment will always be available in a time of need, as they were during the incident at the weekend.

“Our thoughts remain with the woman who found herself in the water and we wish her well with her recovery.

“This story brings home how dangerous the water can be and we would encourage everyone to read up on the water safety tips we have been sharing as part of ‘Be Water Aware’ week. It could save your life.”

PC Peter Wilson, of Northumbria Police’s Maritime Policing Unit, said: “We are pleased that the woman was successfully brought to safety and wish her well throughout her recovery.

“This was a fast-moving incident that showed how blue-light partners and other organisations can work effectively together to help those who come into trouble in the water.

“The instalment of these new throw-bag boards along the banks of the River Tyne is something we welcome, and can only further help us to keep our communities safe and ultimately save lives.”

TWFRS have been running throw-bag training with businesses across Tyne and Wear for nearly four years with hundreds of riverside business staff trained in how to use them.

They have spearheaded the introduction of more of the throw-bag boards and have today welcomed the investment by Newcastle City Council.

The newly installed throw-bags stretch from the Redheugh Bridge to The Cycle Hub at Newcastle’s Ouseburn.

An announcement was made about their installation this week as part of the National Fire Chiefs Council’s Be Water Aware safety campaign.

The campaign runs between April 24th and April 30th with TWFRS holding a free water safety event at the Newcastle Quayside Market on Sunday between 11am and 3pm.