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Queens Gallantry Medal awarded to firefighter who rescued a boy from the River Eden


Stephen Wharton, Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service has been awarded the Queens Gallantry Medal for rescuing a child from the River Eden on 26 February 2019.

On Tuesday 26 February 2019, Cumbria Fire and Rescue from Appleby were called to a water rescue incident in the River Eden. A 13-year-old boy was swimming in the river and got into difficulty. He went under the water and did not resurface. Once it was realised he was in difficulty, a number of people in the vicinity tried to help; however, after several minutes of trying in vain to rescue the young boy, the emergency services were called.

It was estimated that the child had been underwater for approximately 20 minutes prior to the crew arriving. Due to the close proximity to the fire station and the urgency of the call, the crew responded on foot to the river as they knew this would provide a quicker response.

Under extremely challenging circumstances, the decision was made to commit two crew members into the River to carry out a rescue. With the crew briefed, Crew Manager Wharton and another firefighter entered the water, supported by the rest of the crew from the river bank.

The two crew members who entered the river finally located the casualty under the water. Crew Manager Wharton’s personal flotation device (PFD) and kit was preventing him from going under water. In order to rescue the boy, Crew Manager Wharton quickly decided he would need to remove his PFD, helmet and all the air from his dry suit to enable him to dive under the water, risking his own life in extreme circumstances. He then successfully dived down to a depth of 2 to 3 metres, located the child and brought him to the surface.

With assistance from the rest of the crew, the casualty was brought to the river bank where he was resuscitated and flown to hospital where he made practically a full recovery. The quick thinking, courage and professionalism of Crew Manager Wharton saved the boy’s life and reduced the risk of injury to members of the public.


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Little Ireland | CLEATOR MOOR: Queens Gallantry Medal awarded to firefighter who rescued a boy from the River Eden
Queens Gallantry Medal awarded to firefighter who rescued a boy from the River Eden
Little Ireland | CLEATOR MOOR
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