A WOMAN praised by police for rescuing an elderly man from the River Tees says she acted instinctively after being alerted to his plight by her dog.

Emma Welsby was walking beagle Oscar along the river at Middleton-in-Teesdale, County Durham, last Tuesday morning (May 27), when he stopped in his tracks and began barking incessantly at some trees on the riverbank.

When Oscar refused to leave, Mrs Welsby peered into the undergrowth and noticed a man, thought to have been fishing, lying face-down in the shallow water below.

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“Then I realised I could hear him very faintly shouting for help," she said.

“I managed to get down to him and rolled him over so his face was out of the water.

“I didn’t have my mobile phone with me, so I dragged him a couple of feet to make sure he was right out of the water.

“He was conscious and talking so I told him I would back in a few minutes.”

The mother-of-three, who lives nearby, rushed home and called the emergency services before returning to the riverside with her eldest children, Natasha and George, who were on their half-term break from Teesdale School, Barnard Castle.

Natasha, aged 15, directed the fire brigade to the scene, at River Terrace, and George, aged 14, directed the ambulance.

Her youngest son, Oliver, eleven, stayed at home to tell an imminent visitor to the house what was going on.

Mrs Welsby waited with the man until the emergency services arrived.

He was taken to hospital for a check-up but was not seriously hurt.

She was praised by the police for her actions during the incident.

Sergeant Simon Rogers, from the Barnard Castle and Teesdale Neighbourhood Police Team, said afterwards that the outcome could have been much worse without Mrs Welsby’s quick-thinking.

Mrs Welsby said: “I just acted instinctively, but I don’t think I would have seen him if it wasn’t for the dog being so persistent.

“He got a big treat when we got home.

“I think you go into a bit of shock and the adrenaline starts flowing.

“I am just so glad the man was okay, I was thinking about him for the rest of the day.”