A POWYS DJ who dashed to the rescue of a family that nearly drowned in the River Wye, has recalled how he saw “terror in the eyes” of a panicked father who thought he might lose his children.

Darren Bailie jumped into action when a baking day at the beach almost turned into tragedy at the end of July. The alarming incident occurred on Wednesday, July 21, during the week-long intense heatwave that hit the UK, with Darren and his family enjoying a swim in the River Wye at Glasbury.

Other families were also enjoying a dip in the river on the village’s famed pebble beach that day, including one Darren recognised as living close to him, when tragedy almost struck. Alert Darren could see two children getting into difficulty as the river – despite being low due to the hot weather – swirls dangerously by the pillars of the bridge that crosses the Wye in the village, which straddles both Radnorshire and Breconshire.

Darren came to the aid of the dad – who had jumped in to save his daughter – dragging both the man’s wife and the little girl to safety, as eventually all five people escaped unharmed.

Darren shrugged off suggestions he is a hero though, insisting he was “just in the right place at the right time”.

“The father went in to help his daughter and he’s a big lad but he got pulled in, so I got him to throw me the girl and I pulled her out,” said Darren, 48.

“The mother and two kids were in the river, they had been playing all day in there. They slowly drifted down throughout the day towards the pillar by the bridge. It looked like the little girl got pulled in and her brother went to help her and he got pulled down with her. The mother then went to help them and got pulled down as well.

County Times: Hero: Darren Bailie

Hero: Darren Bailie jumped in to help rescue a stranded family.

“I caught the incident out of the corner of my eye, I could see that the little lad was struggling trying to help his sister. I saw the mother go straight under so I ran towards them and told the dad ‘you’re family’s in trouble’. He went in, while I pulled the mother out.

“He took his daughter off his son and the son managed to get out but then he was trying to pull himself up with the daughter in his arms and he kept getting pulled under, he was popping back up and I told him to chuck her to me. He looked sort of stunned and disoriented, but he eventually pushed her towards me and I managed to grab her and swim out with her.”

The frightening incident occurred at around 4pm and Darren says it highlights the dangers rivers still pose even when at low tide, and with so many similar incidents happening as people have been attracted to UK water courses to cool off during the recent good spell.

“I was just in the right place at the right time,” insists Darren.

“Even when low it’s surprising how strong the current of the river is and how dangerous it is. When I went in, it took me straight down. It’s surprising how strong it is by those pillars. The water’s got nowhere to go so it just goes down.

“I got back out, put a strong foot in the water and grabbed the mother by her hand to pull her out.”

Darren said he was annoyed at some local councillors, who attempted to downplay the seriousness of the incident, saying the water levels are too low to cause any danger.

He said: “I was a little bit disappointed in the councillors dismissing the incident, saying it’s not very deep there, it’s only shallow. It may be shallow but it does go deep by the bridge.

“This incident happened so it shows there are dangers. The father went in and I could see the terror in his eyes because he was in trouble with his daughter in his hands.

“I think they need to open their eyes, because it could have been a lot worse. No-one died but it could easily have happened.

“The father thanked me and said if it wasn’t for what I did it could have been a different outcome.”

One person who certainly wasn’t downplaying the heroic act was grateful mum Lucy Norris, who took to Facebook to commend Darren for his bravery. Under a post on Darren’s Facebook page about the incident, Lucy said: “We haven't shared this until now as we didn't know if Darren would want us to but me and the kids had a really close call last week down the river.

“And if it wasn't for Darren being there to help save our lives this would have been a completely different post.

“We are so grateful that he was there with his wife and family at the time. We were in trouble and we truly can't thank him enough for what he has done for us. We just hope this makes people aware of the dangers of river currents and that they get the lifesaving equipment down the river for any future close calls. I honestly can't thank you enough.”