Heroic lifesaver describes 86-year-old man's dramatic rescue from River Nidd

A man who helped save the life of an elderly driver whose car plunged into the River Nidd has described the dramatic scenes during the rescue.

Monday, 8th August 2016, 4:09 pm
Updated Monday, 8th August 2016, 5:14 pm
Alex and Dean with car in the background - image courtesy of @PSCO3573

Alex Hastings was playing with his daughter by the river in Knaresborough on Saturday, August 6, when he heard a "big splash" followed by the worried shouts of nearby children.

As he raced towards the scene, Alex said he saw a car in the river and soon realised that the driver was still inside.

The 86-year-old man managed to drag himself out of the passenger window but shouted towards the concerned crowd that he was unable to swim.

Car after rescue - image courtesy of @PSCO3573

Without regard for his own safety, Alex began climbing down the river bank before jumping in and swimming across with another man and his dog Hope.

The heroic team managed to get a safety ring over to the elderly man and then pulled him across the river and up the bank.

Police praised the "quick thinking" and "bravery" of the heroic pair and said that their actions had surely saved the elderly driver's life.

Despite risking his life in the rescue, Alex admitted that he did not feel like a hero and said he was "just glad" that the man was safe.

Image courtesy of @PSCO3573

He said: "There wasn't really any thinking about it, it just seemed to happen without any thought process involved.

"He seemed in shock when we got him out which anyone would be after dropping off that bank and into the river.

"I only found out that he was 86 once we had him safe and up at the top of the banking.

"But like I said, it didn't matter if it was a man a woman or a child. Something bad had happened and it just clicked in me that I needed to help in any way I could."

Image courtesy of @PSCO3573

The driver, from Wakefield, suffered cuts and grazes in the crash and was taken to hospital for checks, but was otherwise unhurt.

However, Inspector Clive Turner of North Yorkshire Police said that without the help of the two men, the consequences could have been tragic.

He said: “There is no doubt that the men who came to the rescue have saved the man’s life.

"The vehicle ended up completely submerged and without their quick thinking and very brave actions, the outcome could have been tragic.

Car rescue from River Nidd - image courtesy of @PSCO3573

"Rivers are dangerous bodies of water and the two men risked their own lives in the process. We extend a very big thank you to them, they should be extremely proud of what they have done.”

Alex said he has been "overwhelmed" by the reaction to the story but stressed that credit must be shared between everyone who was there that day.

He said: "Without the help of Dean, his dog Hope and the other people that were there at the time to help the gentleman it could have turned out a lot worse for him.

"It's amazing how we all reacted in getting him out of the water people getting blankets for him and others ringing the emergency services.

"A group of strangers united together so well to help this person out in his time of need. They deserve respect for there part in this too."

Car after rescue - image courtesy of @PSCO3573
Image courtesy of @PSCO3573
Image courtesy of @PSCO3573
Car rescue from River Nidd - image courtesy of @PSCO3573