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Policeman leaps into river in his underwear to rescue football fan

A POLICEMAN has been hailed a hero after he jumped into a fast-flowing river in his underwear to save a drowning football fan.

PC James Patterson, a qualified lifesaver who swims for the GB police team, was helping with crowd control at the game between Nottingham Forest and Sheffield Wednesday when a man fell into the River Trent.

CCTV footage released by Nottinghamshire Police shows the officer with a life ring around his waist while colleagues on the bank cling to a rope.

He had just 6ft left on the rope when he reached the unconscious man.

As PC Patterson grabbed the man, colleagues pulled them to safety and gave the fan first aid. He was taken to hospital and survived his ordeal on February 18.

PC Patterson said the ‘adrenaline kicked in’ when he got the call.

He added: ‘It’s one of those rare moments where you look in the mirror and think “well done you”.’

Four officers are up for a commendation or award for their ‘courageous and professional actions in fast-moving circumstances’. Sgt Julian Smedley said their conduct was ‘truly inspirational’.

He added: ‘PC Patterson displayed true courage, selfless commitment and determination. He gave no thought for his own safety.’