‘I couldn’t watch her die’ – Heroic hotel boss jumps into River Witham to save woman from drowning


A heroic hotel boss who dived into the River Witham to save a young woman from drowning said he ‘couldn’t watch her die’.

Alistair Arundell, who runs the Quayside Hotel, rushed to her aid after a customer said they had saw a woman jump into the water.

The 44-year-old rushed outside to the banks of the quay – along with 40 other people from inside his hotel – to see a woman struggling to stay afloat.

Alistair, a keen fan of water sports who had received training for cold water events, told Lincolnshire Live he couldn’t watch and dived in after her.

He said: “I couldn’t just stand there and let the woman drown.

“I knew if I jumped in I could die from the cold water shock along with her if it took too long to save her so I began searching for a rubber ring on the nearby boats but when I found one there was no rope attached. I managed to get a rope off a nearby fishing boat, attached it to the rubber ring and, though this took less than a minute, it was becoming a race against time so I threw the end of the rope to someone on the bank, bit the bullet and jumped in”

Alistair Arundell, owner of the Quayside hotel in Boston.
Alistair Arundell, owner of the Quayside hotel in Boston. (Image: Lincolnshire Echo)

The incident took place on a bitterly cold night on 30th October at 10pm.

“I just couldn’t let her die,” he said.

“She was starting to drown as I swam out to reach her, I got to her and began to pull her across the river back towards the bank.

“I was really tired by this point and had to use my knees to keep the woman above the water and was struggling to get her up onto the quayside.

“A guy helped her up to the bank and there were huge cheers.”

“We both went off to hospital and I’m pretty sure she would have died if she had been in the icy water much longer.”

“It all happened very quickly but the training I had from sailing really came to the fore.”

“I went into autopilot and I thought all the training I’d received would be useless as I felt I could have paid more attention but it all came back and I managed to save her”

Alistair will now be given a Public Appreciation Certificate in April by Lincolnshire Police for his heroics on that day.

Friend Ken Bloomfield nominated Alistair for the award and he said: “There is no doubt that the actions of Mr Arundell saved this woman’s life and in doing so risked his own.”

“We know that Alistair is very aware of the dangers of fast flowing currents in a tidal estuary and cold water shock but armed with the knowledge of these dangers he still did not hesitate to jump in to help.”

Chief Constable for Lincolnshire Police, Bill Skelly, said in a letter to Alistair:

Chief Constable Skelly

“I am pleased to inform you that you are to receive a Public Appreciation Certificate for your actions on October 30, 2018, when you rescued a woman who had jumped into the River Witham in Boston with the intention of harming herself.

“Your bravery and selfless actions, which resulted in saving the woman’s life was an outstanding demonstration of a member of public assisting to save another person’s life.

“You will be invited to attend a presentation to receive your award at a later date. For the moment, please accept my congratulations for this well-deserved recognition.”