Kent

Coronavirus: Drunk man rescued from river twice as pubs reopen

Rescue boat deployed Image copyright KSAR
Image caption "Sheer stupidity" had put the lives of volunteers at risk, the rescue service said

Rescue teams were repeatedly called to help a man who twice jumped into a Kent river as pubs reopened after lockdown.

The "intoxicated male" jumped into the River Medway in Maidstone at about 21:00 BST on Saturday evening.

He was pulled from the water in a "distressed state", but dived back in "a short while later," Kent Search and Rescue said.

Advice to "not over-do the first day of pubs opening was not heeded," a spokesman said.

The man, who was part of a "very drunk" group who were "mucking about" near the river, was first rescued after jumping into the water and shouting "help me I can't swim", volunteer James Dunn said.

He refused medical treatment and jumped into the water a second time. Rescue boats then "herded" the man back to the river bank, before he ran away, Mr Dunn added.

Image copyright KSAR
Image caption The search and rescue team sent medics to the scene

Mr Dunn said volunteers who run the service were happy to patrol waterways on busy evenings because "accidents happen," but added it was "frustrating when deliberate selfish acts of stupidity put everyone at risk".

In a statement, the service said the man's "sheer stupidity" had "not only put his own life at risk but twice caused rescue teams to put their lives at risk in an effort to help him".

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