'Heroic' five-year-old helps family rescue man from River Tyne in Newcastle

James Tasker, his five-year-old son Ralph Tasker, and nephew Flynn Tasker-Davies have been given a commendation after rescuing a man from the River Tyne in Newcastle. Credit: Northumbria Police

A family has been hailed as heroes after they saved a man's life in the River Tyne.

James Tasker, his five-year-old son Ralph Tasker and nephew Flynn Tasker-Davies were out on a boat on an afternoon in May this year when they saw a man in difficulty on the Newcastle side of the Quayside.

They managed to steer the boat towards the man and pulled him to safety, using their clothes to keep him warm while emergency services got to the scene.

The man was taken to hospital but had suffered no physical injuries and was later discharged.

The trio have been awarded with a Northumbria Police Commander’s Compliment for their bravery during the operation.

The certificates were presented by Chief Superintendent Barrie Joisce at Viking Park in Jarrow, where the Force’s Maritime Policing Unit carried out training exercises.

Mr Tasker said: “This is a really special occasion to be recognised with this award. It’s not every day you’re personally invited to attend a facility such as this – and get given a guided tour by specialist officers.

“Thinking back to that day, I’m so glad we were there to intervene. It doesn’t bear thinking about what could’ve happened if we hadn’t been there.

“Ralph spoke to the gentleman the whole time and made sure he was alright and conscious, whilst myself and Flynn controlled the boat and rang emergency services – it was a true team effort.

“As a family, we’ve got a lot of experience on the water. I know this will stay with us for the rest of our lives.”

Chief Supt Joisce said: “James, Flynn and Ralph acted heroically on the day they saved this gentleman’s life. They didn’t hesitate for a moment when they saw him in a considerable amount of distress and immediately came to his aid.

“Not only that, but after getting the man aboard their vessel, they liaised with emergency services staff to make sure he was OK before leaving the scene.

“If they had not intervened when they did, we could have been looking at a drastically different outcome.

“Although it isn’t always appropriate for members to intervene in incidents such as this, assisting someone when they are in such a time of desperation can mean the world to them.

“In the circumstances, James, Flynn and Ralph absolutely did the right thing and I’m delighted to be able to award them with Commander’s Compliment recognition for their efforts.”

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