A KEIGHLEY firefighter has been given a rare award for saving a teenage boy from drowning.

Keighley White Watch crew manager Adam Dykes has been presented with a commendation by the Chief Fire Officer of West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service.

The award was handed over in a ceremony at Keighley fire station.

It was “pure luck” that Mr Dykes, who was off-duty, was nearby when he saw the potentially tragic situation unfolding at the River Wharfe in Ilkley after a young boy jumped into the water from a bridge.

Mr Dykes, who is trained in water rescue, said: “I heard shouts for help from the boy’s friends.

“They had been jumping off a bridge when cold water shock had prevented the boy from being able to swim.

“He was apparently a usually good swimmer, and despite it being a warm summer’s day, this shows how cold water shock can take effect.

“As a trained firefighter, I was able to quickly risk-assess the situation, and reach the bed of the river, where I estimate he was five or ten seconds from drowning.

“I’m humbled to receive the commendation and I’m pleased I was able to intervene safely to save a life, and reach him before it was too late.”

Chief Fire Officer John Roberts said: “The story of this rescue is a timely reminder of how easily people can get into trouble in the many dangerous areas of open water around West Yorkshire.

“It was pure luck that firefighter Dykes was nearby and spotted what was going on. If he hadn’t been there, it is likely the boy would have lost his life.

“As a firefighter trained in water rescue, he was able to recover the boy to safety despite being off-duty at the time.

“Please talk to children and young people about water safety, and help them understand how to stay safe.”

The brigade warns that cold-water shock can affect even the strongest swimmers, and hidden dangers beneath the surface could prove fatal.

Advice includes:

* Stick to designated swimming areas and do not be tempted to cool off in any other open water

* If someone is in trouble in the water, dial 999 and ask for Fire

* If you get into trouble, 'float to live': extend your arms, lay back into the water, control your breathing and shout for help

For more guidance, go to westyorksfire.gov.uk/safety/water-safety.