Washington bar staff hailed as heroes for saving man from River Wear

Chef Tyler Wemyss and patron Matthew Cadas pictured holding throwbags that were used on the night when they both helped to save the life of a customer of The River Bar.
Tyler Wemyss (left), Matthew Cadas (right) and Kieron Hughes (not pictured) helped save the life of man in distress in the River Wear outside the River Bar in Washington. Credit: TWFRS

Staff at a pub have been hailed as heroes after their quick-thinking actions saved the life of a man in distress in the River Wear.

Tyler Wemyss, Matthew Cadas and Kieron Hughes of The River Bar and Fiume restaurant in Fatfield, Washington, each reacted quickly helping the man to escape the water uninjured.

The venue had recently received training from the Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service (TWFRS) as well as the RNLI about how to deploy a throw line to those in distress.

Mr Wemyss, a chef, was the first to raise the alarm after spotting the man in the river after his shift. Mr Hughes, a door supervisor, and Mr Cadas, a patron, then reacted to deploy the throw line and bring the man to safety.

Tyler Wemyss and Matthew Cadas with Tommy Richardson of TWFRS and Tony Wafer of the RNLI holding the throw lines used in the rescue. Credit: TWFRS

Describing the rescue, Mr Wemyss said: “I heard a woman crying on the other side of the road and this was quickly followed by a male voice screaming for help. Without hesitation, I ran over to the lady and asked ‘has somebody fallen into the river’?”

“Other members of staff dashed into the River Bar and got the throw bag from behind the bar, which was then thrown into the water to help the guy stay afloat.

“I thankfully felt in control of the situation.  My partner helped to calm the lady down whilst I assessed the man who’d fallen into the river.”

Mr Cadas added: “My emotions after the incident was that of pride and relief. I was over the moon that the lad was safe.

“It just shows you the importance of the throw bags as another person has now been saved from drowning, and can go back to living their life.” 

The throw lines had been installed in the bar as part of the Waterside Responder Scheme which sees waterside businesses trained in how to deploy life-saving equipment.

The initiative has already saved eight lives. 

Steve Thomas, head of prevention and education at TWFRS, said: “It’s wonderful to think that friends and family of people rescued using the throw bags are able to spend more precious time with their loved ones because of an intervention using essential water safety training and equipment.

“We are proud of the Waterside Responder Scheme and our on going partnership with the RNLI that continues to go from strength to strength; helping to train staff from riverside located businesses, and as a result, continuing to save people’s lives.

“I also want to say a massive well done to everyone who sprang into action during the rescue including Tyler, Matthew and Kieron, who all helped to save the man’s life. They should be very proud and deserve this recognition.”

It is the second incident of its kind to happen in the North East in the last two months with bar staff rescuing a reveller from the River Tyne in June.

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