Paramedics called on the help of East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service after they were unable to reach an elderly couple who had toppled into a river.
The pair were enjoying an autumn walk along the embankment in Witherenden Road, Mayfield on Friday, October 12, when they leant against a protective wooden railing which gave way and they both fell into the stream.
The man was able to pull his wife to safety and made the emergency 999 call. However, upon arrival paramedics were unable to transfer the woman to the ambulance and called in the services of ESFRS. Paramedics stabilised her until crews from Uckfield and Crowborough arrived at the scene at 10.50am.
Firefighters used specialist equipment, which is usually used to help winch animals in distress to safety, to lift the woman on a stretcher over the hedge and onto the road, where the paramedics were then able to tend to her.
Incident Commander Matt Elder said: “A Mercedes Unimog, which is fitted with a crane, was used to stretcher the woman to an area of safety. The couple were extremely shaken, having suffered injuries in the fall, and the woman was taken off to hospital.
The husband was also in shock after experiencing a full somersault whilst falling. It must have been a real shock for the pair when they fell into the freezing cold river, which extends eight feet across and around ten inches deep.
“This just goes to show the benefit of having a mobile phone with you at all times, as they were able to call for help.
“Also, the incident demonstrates the close working relationship that we have with all the emergency services and can often improvise with our equipment to help out at the scene of life threatening incidents.”
Crews remained at the scene until 11.52am when they passed the incident over to the paramedics. The Unimog is based at Crowborough Fire Station.