A HERO policeman had to be treated for hypothermia after rescuing a drowning pensioner from a Doncaster marina.
Acting Sergeant Neil Pryce says he made a ‘split second’ decision to dive into the freezing water and pull the 65-year-old man to safety.
The 44-year-old officer was in the water at Doncaster Lakeside for at least 10 minutes during the dramatic rescue and also needed hospital treatment.
The incident happened in darkness before dawn near the road bridge which divides the marina from the main lake.
A passer-by reported a man in the water, which is deep at that location because of the vertical sides of the marina, and officers immediately sped from the College Road headquarters.
It is thought the man could have been in the water for at least 15 minutes before the officers arrived.
Sgt Pryce said: “I took off my body armour and equipment belt and went straight in. Although it was dark I could see him clearly, about 10 metres from the edge.
“I’m a relatively strong swimmer and he was face up. He wasn’t saying anything and I think he would have drowned if we hadn’t been there in time.
“The man’s life was at serious risk and it was a decision I made in a split second to help him, and one I would make again to ensure the safety of the public.
“Had I been off-duty at that location I would have done the same.”
By the time Sgt Pryce, who has 10 years’ police service, and the man were hauled out by other officers, Sgt Price was also suffering from hypothermia and both were taken to DRI for treatment.
“It was more than three hours before I was sufficiently warmed up to be allowed out,” said Sgt Pryce.
It has not been disclosed how the man came to be in the water, but a police spokesman said he is making a full recovery.
Sgt Pryce’s actions received praise from a senior officer.
Supt Eddie Murphy said: “Sgt Pryce acted selflessly to protect a member of the public who was in grave danger and thankfully on this occasion they are both safe and well.
“Police officers undertake a variety of challenging and demanding tasks on a daily basis and they have to make difficult decisions to maintain the safety and wellbeing of the public in South Yorkshire.”