Police say "crowds" of people gathered to watch a man who had fallen into a river without making any attempt to help him.The man was seen struggling in the water of the River Ouse when he fell in close to the Radisson Hotel in York on Thursday afternoon, 2 November.
A North Yorkshire Police spokesman said: "Crowds gathered on Ouse Bridge and surrounding walkways watching the man struggle to keep his head above water, without any apparent attempt to throw him a life ring."There were two life rings within 50m, the force said.
One was eventually thrown to the man when officers arrived at the scene. He was rescued with help from North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service and is in hospital recovering.North Yorkshire Fire Service has produced a video about how to use a life ring. The public are being urged to watch it following the incident.Sgt Toby Gorwood, who attended the rescue, said: “It’s always worth making a mental note of life ring locations along your local river in case you ever need to help someone in trouble.
"Floatation aids allow you to do this while minimising the danger to yourself, which is also important.
"Those vital seconds can make all the difference."A fire service spokesperson said rescue attempts could be made with sticks, scarves and other items of clothing, but said witnesses should not jump in the water.