IT was supposed to be an ice-bucket challenge with a twist.
Carl Pritchard, 21, wanted to go one step further than pouring a bucket of freezing water over his head to raise money for charity, as thousands of people across the country have done in the past few weeks.
But the man from Stanley, County Durham, quickly found himself in trouble after jumping into the icy waters of the River Tyne in Newcastle.
Mr Pritchard found the cold water and tidal currents too much as his friends stood helpless on the quayside.
Luckily for him, Simon Matthews, 32, of Southsea, was nearby, working with a safety team at a ZapCat speedboat racing event on the river.
After hearing his cries for help, Mr Matthews and other team members rushed to pluck the man out of the water.
Mr Matthews said: ‘We were just packing up from the day’s racing when one of our team spotted the guy jump in.
‘He was struggling to swim against the tide, so we rushed to assist. We have a paramedic as part of our safety team and also radioed for an ambulance. If it had been an hour later, we wouldn’t have seen him.’
Mr Matthews is a volunteer helmsman at RNLI Portsmouth Lifeboat Station.
An RNLI spokesman warned people to be careful.
He said: ‘The effect on the body of entering cold water is often underestimated.’
‘The shock can be the precursor to drowning.’