A BRAVE taxi driver saved a woman from drowning after she jumped into the water in Portsmouth Harbour.
Yavuz Eryilmaz saved the woman after she became distressed in the early hours of yesterday morning.
It was really horrible to watch someone so distressed and see her lying there in the waterYavuz Eryilmaz
He jumped in after her and held her up above the water until the emergency services arrived.
The 28-year-old said: ‘I did not stop to think what might happen to me. I just reacted and jumped in with her.
‘I knew I had to help her and I don’t know what might have happened if I didn’t decide to run after her.
‘It was really horrible to watch someone so distressed and see her lying there in the water.’
Yavuz, who works at the taxi rank near the Gosport ferry terminal, was working when the incident happened at 1.30am.
The woman needed to get back to Portsmouth but did not have enough money.
As she was crying, Yavuz, who works for Streamline, offered to drop her off in Portsmouth for the amount of money she had on her.
He added: ‘We got in the taxi and she opened her bag to give me the £20 she had.
‘But when she opened it, the bag was empty and she started crying. She ran out of my taxi and threw her bag away.
‘She was screaming and ran towards the sea wall. I lost sight of her and decided to go after her to see if she was okay.
‘When I looked I saw her lying face down in the water.’
Yavuz climbed over the rocks which make up the seawall and helped the woman out of the water.
‘She was coughing and had water coming out of her mouth,’ he said.
‘She was crying and screaming and I was also close to tears. It was awful to see someone in such a state.’
Luckily the water was not too deep at the time of the incident as the tide was out. But the slippery rocks meant Yavuz, from Gosport, could not get the woman out of the water.
He shouted for help and a fellow cab driver saw the pair and called the emergency services.
Shortly after police arrived with the coastguard. A police boat was used to get Yavuz and the woman out of the water.
He suffered scrapes to his legs and arms. The woman was treated by South Central Ambulance Service.
Fellow Streamline driver Ali Arik, 25, of Gosport, said: ‘Yavuz didn’t think about anyone else, not many people would do that.
‘He jumped in the water and put his own life at risk, it was really brave.’
Ali added that Yavuz is always willing to help someone when they need it.
‘It’s not the first time he’s done something like that – he is always like this,’ he said.
Gosport and Fareham Inshore Rescue Service was also called out.
Coxswain Brian Pack said: ‘When we arrived the woman was on the rock. She was then transferred onto the ferry pontoon and into the hands of South Central Ambulance Service.’