Shortly after 5pm on Tuesday 16 June, officers were called to a report of a concern for welfare of a woman who had gone missing. The call was immediately treated as high risk and a number of patrols were allocated to attend the location where her phone had last been recorded to – at Clifton Country Park. Officers searching the area spoke with a member of the public who advised them they had seen the woman standing close to the River Irwell.
On arrival to the location officers spotted the woman in the river and acted instinctively to save her life. The officers at the scene had to act fast as due to recent rainfall, the river was swollen and the woman moved downstream quickly. PC Milho put the woman’s life before his own and entered the water in order to reach her and keep her head above the water before guiding her towards the bank. At this point a few members of the public were also offering their help to assist in the rescue and, together with officers, were able to pull the woman and PC Milho up the bank and to safety.
An ambulance was called and transported the woman to hospital where she is now recovering.
PC Fabio Milho said: “The main reason I joined the police was to help people, in particular those most vulnerable within our society and what I faced last night was the visual representation of this. As I approached I saw a person who appeared to be downing in the middle of a fast flowing river.
“This was my time to step up and demonstrate the reason why I joined the police. I instinctively took my police gear off and jumped in. Luckily I was able to swim across to the person in distress and rescue them.
“The experience was eye-opening to say the least. I consider myself a good swimmer, however swimming in a fast-flowing river after running for over a mile to get to the incident location proved to be taxing on my body. The woman was also struggling and exhausted and at times pulled me under the water as I tried to get us both to safety. I was worried that we would both run out of energy.
“I’d like to say the experience was scary enough to stop me from ever jumping in a river again, but deep down I know that if I was faced with the same circumstances and someone was drowning, I would do the same again without hesitation.”
ACC Mabs Hussain said: “The quick-thinking actions and coordination of these officers saved this woman’s life and made sure she was pulled to safety from a dangerous situation.
“Further officers arrived on-scene following the rescue and, as well as members of the public, were on-hand to assist. Everyone did a fantastic job and their teamwork meant they were able to locate the woman quickly and prevent a fatality.
“PC Milho was also taken to hospital to recover but remains safe and well. I’m extremely proud of their actions and the way in which everyone responded.”