Five teenagers on a loose jetty were rescued from a Bath river by a dog walker.
The group – aged between 13 and 16 – were playing on their six-metre float before it loosened in the fast-flowing Bathampton Weir on Monday (February 21).
A nearby dog walker spotted the teenagers in danger and used an extendable lead to pull the jetty to safety.
His wife, who was walking her friend’s cockapoos, watched the rescue and said: "They probably thought it was a bit of a laugh. By the time we saw them they were getting stressed because the river was running quite quickly.
"One of the girls was panicking. She said she had a huge fear of water. I think they had no clue there was a weir.
"They were right in the middle with no control whatsoever. Luckily they went by an overhanging branch and pulled it, and went towards the bank a bit more.
"We couldn’t have walked by it knowing they were potentially heading for danger. I’m glad we were there and managed to get them off it.
"My husband used an extendable lead. He got it to them on the third attempt. One of them was savvy enough to attach it to a rope on the front of the jetty and my husband managed to pull them in."
Crews from Bath Fire Station were called at 5.32pm, who were able to secure the jetty.
Avon Fire and Rescue Service said it had spoken to the families of the teenagers to offer advice on water safety.
Councillor Kevin Guy said he and fellow Bathavon North ward member Sarah Warren had put a lifebuoy next to the weir because of the tragic incident in May 2020 when two people died.
He said: "It’s important that everyone is educated about the dangers of fast-flowing water this time of year."
The mother of two added: “It could have been fine, but it could have been an absolute disaster. We lost a couple of people there swimming a year or two ago.
"I told them when they calmed down they were heading for a stretch of river that’s notoriously dangerous.
"They scarpered. They knew they shouldn’t have stolen the jetty."
What are the dangers of getting into rivers?
Avon Fire and Rescue Service have given this advice.
Cold water shock
The fire service offers these tips for staying safe:
Never swim alone
Make sure your friends aren’t taking unnecessary risks
If someone falls into deep water, immediately call 999. If you are near the coast ask for the coastguard, if you are inland ask for the fire service and ambulance
Always wait for emergency services
Look around for lifesaving equipment
For more tips and information, visit the Avon Fire and Rescue Service website here.
Credit to: Stephen Sumner (Local Democracy Reporting Service)