EXCLUSIVE: Firefighters came under 'immense pressure' to rescue river victim
FIREFIGHTERS came under 'immense pressure' to rescue a drowning man, but could not enter the water because of safety procedures.
Manmeet Singh Ahuja, 27, was pronounced dead near Hurley Riverside Park at 10.45pm on Sunday night, after his body was recovered from the Thames by police divers and the fire service's Water Rescue Unit.
A crew from Maidenhead were called to the park at 7.10pm after reports a man had got into trouble in the water while with a family group of around 20 people.
Firefighters arrived within 10 minutes, but had to wait for the Water Rescue Unit to arrive at 7.33pm before beginning a 'pattern search'.
In a letter to Fire Authority members, Olaf Baars, deputy chief fire officer of Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service, said: "At the point that Maidenhead, the first crew in attendance, reached the scene, the casualty had not been seen for some 15 minutes and the large number of family members were at the bank in a distraught state.
"The first crew in attendance followed procedures despite immense pressure from bystanders to enter the water."
A search by the fire service was not successful and police divers found the Southall man's body 15ft from the bank at 10.45pm.