A woman who jumped into the River Thames to save a drowning bee nearly lost her toes during the dramatic rescue attempt.
Sophie Hawkins, 19, dived into the water near The Riverside pub in Lechlade, near Swindon, after spotting the bee at around 8pm on Thursday, July 20.
Sophie told Wiltshire Live she had been enjoying the heatwave on a friend’s boat in the hours before the incident which saw her rushed to Great Western Hospital.
The nasty injury, which severed a tendon, was just a few centimetres off slicing her toes – which could have had left her with life-changing injuries.
She said: “I was on a friend’s boat, which was moored up near the bridge and I saw a bee in the river drowning.
“I jumped in to try and save it and felt an impact on my foot. It didn’t hurt but it felt like my skin was flapping around in the water.
“I went into shock and I was struggling, but my brother jumped in and managed to save me. He pulled me to the bank near the pub and another couple helped pull me up out of the water.”
She claims the wait for an ambulance was an hour and a half, so her brother whizzed her to the hospital in his car where she was treated by medics.
Miss Hawkins’ treatment included an X-ray to ensure there were no foreign objects in the foot, cleaning under local anesthetic, a tetanus jab and stitches. As a result of the injury, she has lost movement in one of her toes.
Her mother, Lizzie Fey, took to social media to warn people about the dangers of leaping into the River Thames following the concerning accident.
“My daughter jumped off a boat that was moored close to Halfpenny Bridge. She cut her foot very deeply on a sharp item on the river bed, severing a tendon,” she wrote.
Ms Fey continued: “She went into a complete panic in the water and luckily her brother sensed something was wrong and jumped in to save her. He got her to the edge where another man helped by hauling her out of the water.
“The river is very low due to the hot weather, increasing the chance of touching the ground. There is a lot of metal, glass and other dangerous material on the river bed, especially under the bridge.”
The Environment Agency’s top tips for staying safe around water:
- Take notice of safety information, warning signs and flags
- Be aware of strong currents and don’t go into water near locks, weirs, sluices, bridges and pipes as these structures are often linked with strong currents
- The water in rivers and lakes can be colder than you expect at any time of the year. Cold water shock will affect your ability to swim, look after yourself, or rescue others. It’s a key reason why many people drown.
- Get trained in lifesaving and resuscitation techniques. Know what to do in an emergency
- Airbeds, inner tubes and other flotation devices can easily be carried or blown in to deep water and may not keep you afloat.
- Consuming alcohol will impair your ability and judgement in and around water
- Do not jump or dive into rivers. Quick entry into cold water can cause your body to go into shock. Also it’s difficult to judge the depth just by looking, there can be submerged dangers such as weed or rubbish.
- Younger children may not recognise the dangers, and need to be supervised by an adult