Woman Rescued By Off Duty Police In Richmond Park

Having fallen through ice on a lake whilst trying to save her dog

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On Thursday 9 February two off-duty police constables were walking their dog in Richmond Park when they spotted a woman frantically shuffling across the largely frozen lake in the centre of the park. As the officers approached the edge of the lake they noticed a small black dog splashing around in the water.

The woman then got down on her knees and crawled towards the hole in the lake to retrieve her dog. The ice then gave way underneath the woman completely submerging her in the icy water. As the woman surfaced she managed to remove her dog from the water, but was unable to get out herself.

At this point PC Tom Abounader ran around to the shore closest to the woman and began to edge onto the ice in order to help the woman, whilst PC Chris Denby attempted to coax the dog away from the ice. The woman was approximately 50 meters from the shore and PC Abounader began to crawl toward the woman. As he reached the woman the officer felt the ice crack from underneath him and he then crawled backwards pulling the woman, still in the water, closer to the shore.

The officer repeated this process until about 10 meters from the shore when the ice under PC Abounader gave way. Fortunately, the water was shallow enough to stand up in and the officer helped the woman to the shore where he gave his coat and gloves to warm the woman up.

PC Denby managed to recover the dog and wrapped it in his coat. The officers warmed up the grateful pair and also gave them hypothermia advice after the woman refused medical assistance.

Superintendent Peter Ayling, Police in Southwark said:
"The bravery, tenacity and dedication shown by the off-duty officers could well have saved the woman's life. Their ability to act swiftly and decisively to the situation is a credit to themselves and the public they serve.

"I would like to taken this opportunity to advise the public not to go onto icy lakes or ponds. This incident could well have ended in tragedy if it wasn't for the bravery and quick thinking of the officers."

February 15, 2012