Breaking News: Police say woman pulled from river is aged 66

IPSWICH: An eyewitness has today spoken of rescuers’ relief after they found a pulse on a woman who was pulled out of a bitterly cold river.

It took more than 15 minutes to revive the woman, who police have today confirmed is 66-years-old, and was pulled out of the River Orwell at 5.15pm yesterday during a dramatic rescue operation.

Police say the woman, who was in a fight for life, remains in Ipswich Hospital today in a critical condition while mystery still surrounds how she came to be in the water.

Police received initial reports that a body had been spotted lying face down in the river close to the town’s London Road, near to the junction of Yarmouth Road, by a member of the public.

Police, fire crews and ambulances rushed to the scene in a race against time to rescue the woman.

Firefighters completed a swift water rescue mission, taking on the elements brought on by the bitter winds and cold conditions.

Speaking after helping with rescue efforts, Inspector Sally Gallant, of Suffolk police, said: “We were called after a member of the public saw the body lying face down in the water.

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“Police units were the first to arrive at the scene and we found the body in the middle of the river.

“At this point we were unable to identify whether the person was male or female.

“The fire service were very quick to respond and pulled the woman to safety – however it didn’t look good as the woman wasn’t moving. Paramedics worked hard to revive the woman and eventually found a pulse.”

The fire service’s water rescue teams worked quickly as firefighters waded into the middle of the river in a bid to pull her to safety.

Gary Clarke, group commander of Suffolk Fire and Rescue service, said: “When we arrived all we knew was that a person required rescuing.

“Our water rescue technicians carried out a swift rescue and left the woman in the hands of the paramedics.These types of incidents are yet another element of the important work that we carry out within Suffolk.”

The fire service’s water rescue teams are based at Princes Street, Bury St Edmunds and Lowestoft fire stations.

A cordon remains in place today while officers establish how the woman ended up in the water.

The incident caused chaos for motorists who were left facing lengthy tailbacks after police cars, ambulances and fire engines blocked most of London Road.

Officers are keen to speak to anyone who saw her in the Bramford Road/Yarmouth Road area near to the tow path and the Handford Road/London Road junction area between 4pm and 5.15pm last night.

She is described as white and was wearing a brown/green jacket with a fur-lined hood, blue trousers and white shoes.

n Anyone who can help police with their investigations is asked to contact Ipswich CID on 01473 613500.

n Did you see the drama unfold? Do you know the woman involved? Call the newsdesk on 01473 324788 or send an e-mail to