Officer rescues teenager from water
Main article content
An officer jumped into the water at a Colchester beauty spot to rescue a teenager from drowning.
PC Lewis Aleta was on patrol with a colleague in Castle Park and saw a group of girls and boys jumping into the water at Middle Mill.
One of the boys got into trouble and his friends tried to help him.
PC Aleta, 29, said: “I heard the splashing and shouting, and I thought are they messing about or is it serious?
“When I saw a girl and boy go under, I jumped in.
“We took the boy to the riverbank. He was shaken but when he caught his breath, after about five or ten minutes he was fine.
“I knew the water was deep but even I was surprised how deep it was because when I jumped in, I couldn’t touch the bottom.”
Fortunately, the boy didn’t need any medical help following the incident, which happened at about 4.30pm yesterday, Monday 15 June.
PC Aleta has been a member of the Town Team since July last year and has been an Essex Police officer for three years, having spent a year as a Special Constable before then.
Before joining us, he was a chef and had worked in London restaurants and hotels before working in Colchester.
“I have never had to jump into water before to help someone, it’s not something I’ve ever had to do before,” he said.
Colchester district commander Chief Inspector Rob Huddleston said: “Lewis acted in the true tradition of policing, putting others before himself. His quick thinking and brave actions undoubtedly saved this young man's life.
“As police officers in the community we are here to help anyone and will always do our best to keep you safe.”
Cllr Mike Lilley, Colchester Borough Council Portfolio Holder for Communities, Wellbeing and Public Safety, said: “If it wasn't for the heroic actions of the police officer, we might now be dealing with a death at Middle Mill.
“We are looking urgently at what more can be done to prevent people entering the water at this spot, but in the meantime, I would advise people not to swim or paddle there.
“Apart from the obvious hazard of swimming close to a weir, rivers and open water seldom get warm in this country, even during a summer heat wave.
“And objects under the water, which may be unseen from the riverbank, can trap or injure swimmers. There are also potential health risks from swimming in lakes and rivers, such as Weil’s disease.
“Please be sensible and do not risk your own safety or the safety of others by trying to swim or paddle at Middle Mill.”