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Woman nearly drowns as joggers oblivious to screams

What Happened
Person overboard/swept away/fell in the water
What Caused
Adverse environmental conditions
Casualty type/Qty
Causal Factors
Injury Details
Near miss

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Description of Incident
A woman nearly drowned in a river after joggers wearing headphones ran past her, oblivious to her screams for help.

By the time a cyclist rode by and noticed the woman was in distress, she had almost disappeared beneath the surface and swallowed a large amount of water.

Matt Drury, who dived in and pulled her to safety, criticised runners who had not acted sooner because the music from their headphones had drowned out her cries.

Mr Drury, a security guard, said he was riding along the bank of the River Thames in Reading, Berks when he heard splashing and saw the woman sinking.

The 38-year-old, from Caversham, Reading, said: “I was going toward the lock when I heard a gasp and a splash.

“She was lying on her back in the water but her head was under water and her legs were sticking up.

“As usual there were joggers on the path. I saw a group of them run straight past her before I got there, but they had their headphones in and they couldn’t hear her.

“They should just keep their headphones in one ear so they can hear what’s happening around them.

“I screamed for help and threw my bike down. Another man jumped straight in and, with the help of a man who was on a riverboat, we pulled her out.”

The three rescuers hauled the woman onto the river bank and administered first aid, before she was taken to the Royal Berkshire Hospital.

“She brought up a lot of water and some sick and her lips were dark purple. She was very distressed,” said Mr Drury, who was on his way home from work at Microsoft’s Thames Valley Park around 6pm on Tuesday last week when the incident unfolded.

He added: “I’d finished work 15 minutes late and was on my way home on my bike. It was lucky, if I hadn’t have been running late I don’t know what would have happened.”

The woman, thought to be Polish, is understood to have made a full recovery.
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Location of Incident

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