'Extremely lucky' girls, 11, rescued from frozen river after falling through ice

Ellen Manning
·4-min read
River rescue
Dramatic footage showed the girls being rescued from the icy River Trent in Nottinghamshire. (Nottinghamshire Police)

Two 11-year-old girls had a lucky escape after getting trapped after falling through ice on a frozen river.

Dramatic footage of the moment one of the girls was pulled to safety was released by police in an effort to highlight the dangers of going near the river, where a 12-year-old died in 2017.

Nottinghamshire Police said the girls had been walking over a frozen part of the River Trent when they got trapped.

One fell through the ice into the freezing water, prompting a passer-by to raise the alarm. The other made it to an island but was stranded with no way back over the broken ice, the force said.

The incident happened just a few hundred metres from where 12-year-old Owen Jenkins died after being dragged under by a strong current while trying to rescue two friends who had got into difficulty in the water at Beeston Weir in July 2017.

Owen's mum Nicola Jenkins, who founded the Open Water Education Network (OWEN) water safety programme in her son's memory, urged children to stay away from the River Trent and for parents to speak to youngsters about the dangers.

She said: "When it comes to ice children don't seem to see the danger. They just think it is a bit of fun.

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"A lot of the ice looks thick but it isn't. Where the water is shallow it can be thick but when it gets deeper it is thin and that's where the difficulty lies and you can become stranded.

"There is no point even trying it because we don't have thick ice like in some countries. It is best to stay away - it is not worth the risk.

"Parents need to be more open with their children and explain the dangers of open water and ice in cold weather. Even on the hottest days the water is really dangerous but cold water shock can be really quick to take hold."

The father, mother and brother of Owen Jenkins, Gary, Nicola and Jordan Jenkins, at Nottinghamshire Coroner's Court where they heard the 12-year-old died in the River Trent at Beeston Weir, near Nottingham after going to help two girls who were in difficulty.
Nicola Jenkins (centre), mother of Owen Jenkins, warned parents to educate their children about the dangers of going near icy water. (PA)

She also urged people to download the What3words app which can pinpoint a location for emergency services to find people when they get stranded.

Nottinghamshire Police said they carried out a joint rescue operation with Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service and East Midlands Ambulance Service after the incident was reported near to St Mary's Church, Holgate, at around 4.45pm on Saturday (February 13).

The force said the first girl was helped out of the water as she was closer to the edge, but teams had to use an inflatable piece of equipment to bring the second girl back across the frozen water.

Both girls were unharmed but extremely cold, police said.

Chief Inspector Duncan Southall, of Nottinghamshire Police, said: "The girls are extremely lucky to have been unharmed, particularly as one of them had fallen into the water through the ice."

He said if a passer-by hadn't spotted the girls and called emergency services, there could have been "tragic consequences".

"It was getting dark at the time and was freezing cold. They are incredibly lucky this person saw them.

"They could easily have drowned or suffered from hypothermia had it not been for the fact this person was able to call the police, fire and ambulance service colleagues who got there quickly to rescue them.

"I hope this serves as a stark reminder to others that it is not safe to play on the ice as it can easily crack and put people in great danger. Icy water can be incredibly dangerous.

"This happened very close to where another tragedy happened just over three years ago. It is really important that people stay away from the river as we don't want other families to suffer the same devastation of losing a loved one."

David Stevenson, group manager at Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service, said: “We have seen a number of people playing on frozen water over the past few days and we want to reiterate how dangerous this is.

“Running, walking or playing on frozen water can pose a huge risk of life. The ice may appear thicker than it is, and can end in a serious incident."

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