Woman rescued from mud at Horsham river

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FIREFIGHTERS came to the rescue of a woman who was stuck in the mud at a Horsham river yesterday (Wednesday April 25).

Crews were called to the scene near North Heath Lane at 2.45pm.

The woman became trapped in the thick river bank mud as she attempted to retrieve her dog from the water.

A rescue line and water safety equipment was used to pull her free at around 3.20pm.

Neither the woman or the dog were injured.

The incident is the second water-related scene crews have attended in recent days.

A 29-year-old kayaker drowned in the River Rother near Petworth on Saturday April 21.

Nick Crosswell, of Midhurst, is believed to have fallen from his kayak while on the river with a friend.

The two are thought to have planned to meet at the Badgers pub at Coultershaw, but the friend raised the alarm when a kayak was found empty.

Firefighters from Petworth and Storrington recovered the body from the river. A postmortem found the cause of death was drowning.

Police are not treating the death as suspicious and an inquest has been formally opened and adjourned.

West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service is now are urging residents to take ‘a little extra care’ during the current weather conditions.

Deputy District Commander for Horsham, Marvin Smith, said: “This is the second incident where our firefightres have needed to use water rescue equipment in recent days.

“Thankfully both the woman and her pet was uninjured, but this incident is a timely reminder of how heavy rainfall can make conditions for dog walkers much more treacherous, particularly in wooded or coastal areas.

“If your dog does get caught in flood water or trapped in mud don’t put yourself at risk by going in after them - call the emergency services.

“A riverbank may look safe but you could easily find yourself sinking waist deep in mud and unable to escape or being washed away in the moving water. Dogs are often quite adept at freeing themselves if encouraged to do so.”

St John Stanley, of the Technical Rescue Unit, added: “The mud was up to her legs so she wasn’t completely submerged. But the message is don’t put yourself or anyone else in danger for a dog, because often they escape and get out.

“It’s still cold in the water and the hypothermia sets in quickly.”

The fire service have issued the following safety advice which could help prevent accidents during heavy rainfall and flooding.

. Don’t walk on sea defences or riverbanks

. Don’t walk or drive through flood water - only a few inches of fast flowing water can knock you over and water that reaches the bottom of car doors will cause a vehicle to float

. Flooding can cause manhole covers to come off, leaving hidden dangers on both flooded roads and pathways

. Do not let your children play in flood water; you should assume it will contain foul sewer effluent

. Wash your hands thoroughly if you touch flood water as it will be contaminated

The Environment Agency has flood warning updates on its website every 15 minutes www.environment-agency.gov.uk/homeandleisure/floods or you can ring the Floodline service on 0845 988 1188.