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Fire Service issues safety warning after open water incident at Derby's River Gardens

Derbyshire Fire & Rescue Service (DFRS) is issuing a safety warning after a man was rescued from a river by members of the public in Derby. 

Firefighters from Nottingham Road and Ascot Drive were called to reports of a person in the water at River Gardens, Derby, at 15.14 hours on Friday 11 August.

Upon arrival, crews discovered the man had exited the water with help from members of the public but was confined behind fencing close to the Hydro Station.

Firefighters gained access to the locked and gated compound before handing the man into the care of East Midlands Ambulance Service.

Station Manager Gary Bellfield said: “On behalf of the Service, I would like to extend my thanks to the members of the public for their quick-thinking actions to assist the man out of the water before emergency services arrived. 

“Whilst these actions are commendable, we would not recommend that anyone enter the water to rescue someone in difficulty. 

"We are relieved that this incident did not result in tragedy however we could have easily been talking about several fatalities in open water – the man himself or those that entered the water to rescue him.”

Whilst recognising the quick-thinking actions from members of the public, Derbyshire Fire & Rescue Service would like to remind people to never enter the water to rescue someone in difficulty.

If you see someone in difficulty in water, call 999 immediately and let specially trained firefighters and control operators respond.

Water safety throwlines are placed in locked boxes at all Derbyshire marinas and strategic locations along rivers in the county, including River Gardens in Derby. These can be used by members of the public to carry out a rescue from a safe distance without entering the water.

To access a throw line, call 999 immediately and give your location. Fire control operators will guide you to your nearest throw line and provide a code to open the box and access the equipment in an emergency. 

For more information about water safety, visit