Dramatic pictures reveal the moment a hero police officer caught a woman mid-air as she attempted to commit suicide by jumping into the Thames.
Pc Fab Ahmed feared he was moments from his own death as he clung to the woman and her weight began to drag him over the railing of the Kingston Bridge, before colleagues dragged them both to safety.
The officer told the Evening Standard: “As we were pulling onto her and my feet went into the air, I thought: ‘We’re going to tip into the water with her.’ The lifeboat wasn’t there yet.
“The river’s freezing and there was two stone of kit and equipment with me – it would have been life-threatening."
The 29-year-old said he knew he had a "major fight on my hands to stay alive", after rushing to the woman's aide after a firefighter has shouted that she was about to fall.
Emergency services were called to the bridge and found the woman on the wrong side of the bridge railing. After minutes of unsuccessfully trying to talk her down, Ahmed was forced to act.
Assisted by a firefighter, Pc Ahmed grabbed the woman by the shoulders as she fell.
The woman's weight pulled the men off their feet and they were left hanging over the railing on their stomachs, the water some 15m below.
The fireman grabbed the woman's upper body, as Ahmed climbed over the ledge and held on to her shoulders.
He told the Standard: “As we took more of her weight with our arms, both our legs went up in the air. My abdomen was on the ledge and because of the weight we were being pulled down as well.
“I just thought: ‘We need to save her.’ At the time the goal was just to save her – to get her over the side."
At that point the trio were pulled to safety by other firefighters and police officers at the scene.
The firefighter is said to be still recovering from arm injuries he sustained while rescuing the woman.
Acting Superintendent Claire Moxon said she was “extremely proud of the immense courage and bravery" her officers showed during the rescue.
She said: “There is no doubt about it – Pc Ahmed put his life in extreme danger to save this young lady.
“If the officers and the fire fighters hadn’t taken the actions they did I am sure there would have been another very different ending to this event.”
Useful websites and helplines:
- Samaritans offers a listening service which is open 24 hours a day, on 116 123 (UK and ROI - this number is FREE to call and will not appear on your phone bill.)
- Mind, open Monday to Friday, 9am-6pm on 0300 123 3393
- Get Connected is a free advice service for people under 25. Call 0808 808 4994 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- HopeLine runs a confidential advice helpline if you are a young person at risk of suicide or are worried about a young person at risk of suicide. Mon-Fri 10-5pm and 7pm-10pm. Weekends 2pm-5pm on 0800 068 41 41