A military fitness trainer has been hailed a hero after risking his life to save a woman from drowning in a freezing Doncaster lake.
Ian Burkitt, of Askern, plunged into the lake in Lakeside after spotting a woman in distress while out with his running group.
Mr Burkitt managed to pull the 38-year-old woman to safety before police arrived on the scene.
Mr Burkitt, who was in the Army for 16 years before becoming a fitness trainer, said: “I was out with my running club and I noticed someone in the lake and three people standing by.
“At first I thought maybe she was training for some kind of race, but it was absolutely freezing so I knew something wasn’t quite right,
“When I went over there was a woman on the phone to the emergency services and two others bent over trying to help her.
“She was up to her neck in the water and trying to pull herself onto a wall in the lake, but she kept going under the water.
“I jumped in and managed to grab her arms. It was a real team effort all the people in the running group were trying to help me get her out.
“The woman was clearly distressed and really pale. The water was so freezing that it was a life or death situation.
“I’m glad I was there because I’m not sure how much longer she could have lasted in those temperatures.”
After pulling the woman to safety, Mr Burkitt, 35, and his group managed to get her out of the wet clothes and wrap her in a foil blanket to avoid hyperthermia setting in.
The woman, who is believed to have jumped into the lake on Thursday evening, was taken to hospital. Police said her injuries were not life threatening.
Mr Burkitt said: “I was really proud of everyone and we even did our 10-mile run afterwards.”
Jon Reynolds, managing director of Military Fitness Training said: “Ian’s actions that night typify his no-nonsense approach to everything really, particularly his fitness classes. we’re proud he is part of our organisation.”