Heroes save trapped seven-year-old boy in Welwyn Garden City after van rolls into lake
PUBLISHED: 14:59 19 March 2019 | UPDATED: 15:01 19 March 2019
Welwyn Garden City firefighters have described the dramatic rescue of a seven-year-old boy who was trapped in a van which had rolled into one of the lakes at Stanborough Park.
Emergency services rushed to the scene on Saturday after the van rolled down a ramp into the boating lake.
Two fire crews from WGC and Stevenage attended, as well as a Water Rescue Unit from Hatfield, the police and ambulance service.
WGC fire crew commander Jack Semple said: “When we got there several people were in the water. There were two members of the public, a paramedic and a police officer.
“I entered the water with another firefighter, both wearing dry suits and flotation devices. We got about 30 metres out into the lake - only the top of the roof was visible.
“I could hear banging coming from inside. Up until that point I’d thought it was a car but we tried to break some glass in the back and that’s when it transpired it was a van with no windows in the back door.
“The van was sinking at that point.”
The firefighters attached a line to the van and reversed their fire engine to tow it into shallower water. Once the van was close to the bank the boy saw the light and went towards the front of the vehicle, enabling one of the crew members to reach in and pull him out.
Crew commander Semple said: “It was intense. Thankfully we don’t get calls like that very often. We have been called to incidents from that ramp before.”
The child was unhurt and was passed into the care of the ambulance service. A number of people who had got into the water to try to help were taken to hospital as a precautionary measure.
Chief fire officer Darryl Keen said: “The first crews on scene worked quickly to secure the vehicle and gain access. There is no doubt that were it not for their swift actions the outcome here would have considerably worse.
“I should also pay tribute to the other emergency services involved, the police and ambulance crews involved, because they all entered the water to try and make rescues before the fire crews arrived.
“Once the fire crews were there, they clearly did an excellent job in securing the vehicle and getting the young man out, so a really good outcome for everybody involved – a really good joint effort and I am really proud of the actions of my crews.”
A spokesperson for Greenwich Leisure Limited, which runs Stanborough Park, said: “We are very relieved to hear no one was injured. This is the second time a vehicle has entered the water this year.
“We are therefore looking at physical measures that will allow the slipway to be accessed for open water swimming and craft launches but prevent the accidental entry of vehicles.”