A Minster Law employee has been praised by police for his heroric actions after he rescued a women from the River Ouse. Jasper Sleeman-Hiscock was cycling to work across York’s Milennium Bridge on 20 October when he saw a woman climbing over the railings and jumping into the water.
Without hesitation, the 36-year-old Finance Manager leapt from his bike and – along with another passer-by, Martijn Huibers – jumped straight into the water after her. “Jumping into the water was instinct – I just didn’t think twice,” explained Jasper. “There wasn’t a lot of thought going through my head other than that I could see the woman was sinking and actively trying to put her head under the water, rather than swim or cry out.”
Against the odds, the brave duo fought the ice cold water to reach the 50-year-old woman. “In my head I knew it would be almost impossible to swim with my clothes on, so I stripped down to my underwear,” continues Jasper. “It was like swimming through treacle and I wasn’t sure I would be able to save the woman if she struggled. However luckily, I could see Martijn on his way out to help me.”
Jasper admits his experience on the Milennium Bridge that day has had a profound impact on his life, and his commitment to helping others. “I felt really sad after the incident – that someone would be in such a bad way that they would feel the need to do what that woman did,” he explains. “I wouldn’t think twice about jumping in after someone again though if I was faced with a similar situation.”
Speaking to the York Press after the incident, PC Neil Slater of York Police said: “I would like to thank the two men for their extremely brave actions, which undoubtedly saved the woman’s life. They displayed great courage and risked their own lives to help someone who was having difficulty in the water.”