AN HEROIC fire crew who rescued a boy after he was submerged under water for more than 20 minutes have been commended for their actions.

Kacper Krauze, 13, got into difficulty while swimming in the River Eden. Appleby fire crew attended the scene and, after a short search, they located the boy.

Crew manager Stephen Wharton risked his own life by taking off his protective flotation equipment and diving under water to bring the casualty to the service.

It is estimated that Kacper, who attends Appleby Grammar School, was under water for between 20 and 30 minutes. After being resuscitated he was flown by air ambulance to hospital where he spent several weeks in intensive care.

In years gone by, he would have had little chance of survival, but thanks to specialist equipment and the expertise of healthcare staff, as well as the quick response of the emergency services, he is making a strong recovery.


A certificate of commendation from Steve Healey, chief fire officer with the Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service, was presented to the crew at Appleby Fire Station, with Kacper and his family in attendance.

Mr Healey said: "There is no doubt that the quick thinking, courage, and professionalism of all those involved in this rescue helped save the life of a young man that afternoon, including the paramedics, doctors, and Great North Air Ambulance.

"This was a first class rescue and the way in which crew manager Stephen Wharton and the combined efforts of the Appleby crew dealt with a very high pressured situation was exemplary.

"It was an act of bravery which is thoroughly deserving of this commendation."