A MAN has told how he repeatedly dived to the bottom of York’s River Foss in a desperate attempt to save a young man’s life.

Michael Carr, speaking at an inquest into the death of 25-year-old Liam Davey, said he was walking back to the Q Park Shambles car park last July when he heard a splash from the river.

He said he was unsure at first whether Liam was just "messing about". He said: “I shouted to the man: ‘Are you OK?’ There was no response.

“I thought 'I think I am going to have to go in. I don’t think he is messing about'. “One of the dangers was for myself jumping in. I didn’t know what’s in there. I have been back a few time since then and there’s a bicycle, a shopping trolley in there, at the edge.

“He went under the water and I said, 'OK even if he is messing about, it’s too serious', so I emptied my pockets, and sort of took a running jump towards the middle, where I thought he went down.

“It was a lot deeper than I thought it was. I had to dive down to the bottom - it was a good four swimming strokes.

“As soon as you stopped swimming, the current just pushed you along, so I got back up and went back down again, and I did that maybe three or four times.

“I tried opening my eyes but the water was so brown you just couldn’t see anything. I was feeling around on the bottom.

“It was a good eight to 10 feet deep and one time I felt down I felt a shoe and then a trouser leg.

“I pulled myself down to the river bed, because he was laid on the bottom, spun myself round and put my feet on the river bed, grabbed him on to my shoulder and pushed up from the river bed and burst out of the water.

“There were a few people on the river bank by now and I held Liam’s hand out, so they could pull his arm and get him out.

“I couldn’t get out but found a bit of a ledge and could get my head out of the water, and a young lad and older man pulled me up and I managed to climb out.”

York Press:

Liam's parents Nigel and Vanessa, pictured on the riverside where he drowned.

“I shouted out 'does anyone know CPR?' But nobody did, so I thought 'I am going to have to do something'.

“I am not trained but anything is better than nothing so I pinched his nose and blew into his mouth and tried doing some chest compressions.

“I thought he was back breathing again. The adrenaline was pumping for me. I was massaging his back and trying to get him to spit some water out.”

He said firefighters and paramedics then arrived and took over attempts to resuscitate Liam.

The inquest was told that Liam was taken to hospital, where he died the next day.

It also heard that Liam had been assaulted the night before the tragedy.

Coroner Jon Heath, who gave an open conclusion, said Mr Carr should be commended for his efforts to save Liam.

He said tests had shown that Liam, who had a very small amount of alcohol in his blood, had died from multiple organ failure due to drowning.

A lifebelt is now to be provided at the scene.