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Hero rescues drowning girl from River Wharfe
An Otley man who plucked a “lifeless” five-year-old girl from the river Wharfe has been hailed a hero.
Little Lily Waddington was close to drowning when she was pulled from the river at Ilkley by Simon Wood, 27.
Lily got into difficulties when she was playing in the river during a day out to the town with her grandparents on Thursday, August 22.
Life-saver Simon has been nominated by police for a Divisional Award for his heroics.
Police are now trying to track down a middle aged-woman who was first to notice Lily was in difficulty in the water and cried out for help.
Police want to thank the woman for her efforts and nominate her for an award.
Sergeant David Collyer, of Airedale and North Bradford Police, said: “Without the actions of Simon and the assistance of the, as yet, unknown samaritan we could have been looking at a very tragic accident.
“We are really keen to identify the lady that spotted five-year-old Lily in difficulty and are asking her to come forward, so we can thank her in person for her efforts that day.”
Her grandparents only lost sight of Lily for a short period when she wandered out of view.
Lily’s grandmother, Kath Hands, from Bradford, said she had written to Simon since the incident to thank him for his heroic actions. “It’s hard to find words to say about it, she could be dead, but she’s not, he saved her,” she said.
“Apparently somebody saw her and shouted.” She added that Lily was now “absolutely fine”.
Head of Ilkley’s neighbourhood policing team, Inspector Sue Sanderson, said Lily was found almost “lifeless” in the water by her rescuers.
This week Insp Sanderson made a plea to families to keep a close eye on children playing by the fast-flowing river.
She said: “She was very, very close to drowning. Luckily it was just in the nick of time. The ambulance came, the gentleman himself revived her, and was able to get her to hospital.
“That was a really near miss for that young girl.”
Insp Sanderson added that the river can be very fast-flowing in parts.
If you know who the woman is who raised the alarm, contact Airedale and North Bradford Police on 101.
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