Dog walker who jumped into frozen river to save woman thought she was a mannequin

A man has been hailed a hero after jumping into a frozen river to save a woman who he initially thought was a mannequin.

Colin McGarva, 31, was taking his dog for a New Year's Day walk along the River Severn in Worcester when he noticed a woman floating in the stream.

The business owner initially thought it was a mannequin lying motionless in the water, but as he looked closer he realized it was a real person.

Despite flood warnings and the imminent arrival of Storm Henk, Mr McGarva dove into the water to save her.

“I looked closer and realized it was a real person,” the father said Worcester News. “I thought she was dead. I was yelling “hello!” But there was no response. I saw her move slightly. Her eyes opened.

“That's when I realized he wasn't dead. I looked around but no one was around. I tried to pick up a car. It didn't stop.”

He immediately took off his coat and grabbed a safety ring while he flagged down a fellow dog walker who also fell as her dog was pulling her.

Swans in Worcester after the River Severn burst its banks on Tuesday


Describing the rescue, he told the local newspaper: “The water was frozen. I just had to do it. There was no second thought. I'm absolutely fine although I'm getting a bit emotional talking about it now.'

He said another dog walker helped him pull the woman from the water near the bridge before emergency services arrived at the scene.

West Mercia Police said they were called to the area following reports of a person in the river, but the person had already been helped out of the water.

Flood defense systems were deployed Tuesday to protect businesses and homes along the river

(Getty Images)

A spokesman for West Midlands Ambulance Service also said that by the time they arrived at the scene, the woman had been helped out of the water.

A spokesperson said:[the woman] assessed by ambulance staff and taken to Worcestershire Royal Hospital for further assessment. A second female bystander suffered minor injuries and was given self-care advice by ambulance staff before being discharged at the scene.”

The UK entered the New Year rocked by weather warnings issued by the Met Office for both rain and wind.

Pictures showed towns along the River Severn deploying flood defense systems as the river burst its banks on Tuesday.

More than 600 flood warnings and alerts are currently still in place across Britain as of Wednesday morning as Storm Hank battered areas on Tuesday.

A severe flood warning, meaning danger to life, was in place for the River Nene in Northampton, which warned of deep and fast-flowing water at Billing Aquadrome and nearby business parks