Praise for man who saved life of woman after spotting body in Sheffield river

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A man has been honoured for saving the life of an injured woman he spotted a Sheffield river.

Cole Johnson was walking across a bridge across the River Sheaf, off Broadfield Road, Heeley, when he spotted a body in the water below last July.

Cole Johnson and Chief Fire Officer Jamie Courtney

Cole Johnson and Chief Fire Officer Jamie Courtney

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Initially fearing that the he had found a corpse, he entered the water and discovered that it was a woman, with head injuries, who was still alive.

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Cole, from Endcliffe, Sheffield, used his jacket to try to stem the bleeding from her head and kept the woman still fearing that she may have also suffered spinal injuries after it emerged that she had fallen around five metres into the water from the bridge above.

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Cole received a Chief Fire Officer’s commendation during a ceremony, where his actions were described as ‘heroic’. 

Assistant Chief Fire Officer, Tony Carlin, said: “What Mr Johnson did, in selflessly getting into the river to help, was clearly a heroic act. He potentially saved a life.

“Even in summer open bodies of water are much colder than they look, yet he still got in there and spent at least 30 minutes supporting this woman.

“Our firefighters and ambulance colleagues worked swiftly to get her to safety, but without his intervention and bravery the outcome could have been much worse.”

Chief Fire Officer’s commendations are awarded to those who demonstrate ‘meritorious conduct’ – putting themselves at some sort of risk to save a life.

Cole, who was presented with the award at Rivelin fire station, said: “It was a nice summers evening and we’d just been in the park when I saw what looked like a body in the river.

“As I climbed down the river bank to get a closer look I realised it was a woman stuck, then something just switched in me.

“I just wanted to make sure she was OK so I got in and used my jacket to stop the bleeding from her head wound.

“I didn’t really want to move her out of the water as I didn’t know whether she’d got spinal injuries, so I just kept her still and spoke to her until help arrived.

“People kept thanking me afterwards but I didn’t really feel like I had done anything. It was a really strange experience, but I’m just glad the ambulance crew was able to give her the help she needed.”