Hereford & Worcester

Bravery award for fireman's Grady child river rescue

Watch commander Julian Jenkins, firefighter Jason Mayhew and firefighter Richard Young
Image caption Watch commander Julian Jenkins and fire officers Jason Mayhew and Richard Young received medals

A fireman has been honoured for his attempts to rescue five-year-old Gabrielle Grady who was trapped in a submerged car in a river in Evesham.

Christopher Grady was found guilty of murder and attempted murder for driving his car, with his two children inside, into the River Avon last February.

Hereford and Worcester fire officer Jason Mayhew tried to save Gabrielle "without regard" for his own life.

She was trapped for two hours but later died. Grady and his son Ryan survived.

Mr Mayhew, from Hereford and Worcester Fire and Rescue Service's White Watch team, asked permission to remove his buoyancy aid and flood his dry suit to dive down deeper to get her.

'Physically impossible'

The water temperature was estimated to be about 1C, the fire service said.

He was ordered out of the water after 15 minutes for his own safety but again asked to be allowed back in when he learned a child could survive for up to 90 minutes immersed in water at that temperature.

Image caption Gabrielle was trapped inside the submerged car for two hours and died in hospital three days later

"Jason continued further rescue attempts until it became physically impossible for him to carry on and the chances of survival of the occupant of the car had unfortunately diminished," the fire service said.

Chief Fire Officer Mark Yates added: "This incident was so tragic and our firefighters involved were deeply affected. Whilst we felt it was not appropriate for us to hold an award ceremony to present these medals, we felt it right to recognise the courageous actions of our firefighters.

"Jason Mayhew risked his own safety when he entered the water and he was so closely supported by his colleagues."

He was awarded Hereford and Worcester Fire and Rescue Authority's Outstanding Service Medal on Wednesday and Richard Young collected a medal on behalf of the White Watch Evesham crew.

Grady was jailed for life in March and told he would serve a minimum of 15 years.

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