Crowds of people gathered to watch a man as he was drowning and screaming after he fell into a 30 foot deep river.
The man, who has not been named, plunged into the River Ouse behind the Radisson hotel near the Ouse Bridge in York on Thursday afternoon.
But when people nearby noticed he was in peril they made no attempt to rescue him, with unconfirmed reports suggesting that some even took selfies as the man screamed for assistance.
Despite there being two life rings accessible just meters from the scene, no one tried to help the man as he struggled to keep his head above the water.
North Yorkshire Police eventually arrived at the scene and threw one of the life rings in the river to help keep the man afloat. He was later brought ashore where he was given first aid by paramedics and is now recovering in hospital.
Crowds watched on after a man plunged into the River Ouse behind the Radisson hotel near the Ouse Bridge in York on Thursday afternoon. Pictured: police bodycam footage from the incident last week
Despite there being two life rings accessible just meters from the scene, no one tried to help the man. Police officers later arrived on the scene and threw a life ring in to save him
North Yorkshire Police said its officers were ‘glad to help’ the man but were ‘concerned’ by what they saw during the incident
North Yorkshire Police said its officers were ‘glad to help’ the man but were ‘concerned’ by what they saw during the incident.
It said in a post on social media: ‘Crowds gathered on Ouse Bridge and surrounding walkways, watching the man struggle to keep his head above water, without any apparent attempt to throw him a life ring.
‘But nobody had attempted to throw him a life ring. At least two floatation devices were accessible metres from the scene.
‘Fortunately, when we arrived we were able to quickly find a life ring and throw it to the man.
‘Our two officers kept talking to him and ensured he could keep his head above water until the fire service boat arrived and pulled him out of the river.
‘He was taken to hospital where he is recovering today.’
Following the shock incident, North Yorkshire Fire Service has produced a video about how to use a life ring and the public are being urged to watch it.
View of the River Ouse near the Ouse Bridge in York in north Yorkshire (Stock image)
Police sergeant Toby Gorwood, who helped at the rescue, said: ‘It’s always worth making a mental note of life ring locations along your local river in case you ever need to help someone in trouble.
‘Floatation aids allow you to do this while minimising the danger to yourself, which is also important. Those vital seconds can make all the difference.’
North Yorkshire Police reminded people that there are life rings and other floatation devices ‘located at regular intervals along the River Ouse and other waterways’.
The fire service said rescue attempts could be made with sticks, scarves and other items of clothing, but people should not jump in the water or they could be swept away too.