ORIGINAL TITLE - Is this the most barking pet owner in Britain? Man risks life to save dog on icy river
It's a very inappropriate heading for a hero who is willing to jump in ice cold water to save his dog, I would have done the same, you don't leave your family member behind right??
Stripped down to his underwear in the bitter cold, this man risks his life trying to rescue his dog from a frozen river.
Moments later, as he inched along the ice on his hands and knees, he fell into the water – yet fortunately, both dog and owner clambered out unscathed and continued their walk.
Paul Wenborne, who took the photograph while walking his own dog by the River Stour in Essex yesterday, described the unidentified man's behaviour as a 'foolish act of bravery'.
High risk: A man fell through the ice while crawling across the frozen River Stour, eyewitness Paul Wenborne said
The man stripped down to his underwear and crawled across a frozen river to rescue his trapped dog
Mr Wenborne, 52, of Rayleigh, Essex, added: 'I was with two friends and we couldn't believe what we were seeing. He stripped down to his pants and started crawling across the ice.'
But Essex fire service condemned the man's rescue attempt as 'extremely dangerous'.
Assistant divisional officer Stuart McMillan said: 'Even though this ice appears to be strong it can be eggshell thin, and anyone who falls through into the water below could get trapped under the ice and would only be able to survive for minutes in the freezing water.
'Dogs will normally make it safely off the ice and back to the shore. The same cannot be said for people.'
The ice remained across much of the country this weekend, with the mercury dipping as low as -15.6C in Holbeach, Lincolnshire.
But as the cold snap draws to a close, be warned – there's a drought hot on the heels of the big freeze. The Environment Agency has warned that this year could see severe water shortages, with hosepipe bans as early as spring.
Icy landscape: A young boy on a sledging trip stops to admire the stunning wall of icicles hanging from a cliff in County Durham
Wintry weekend: Icicles drip from a cliff as frosty weather continues across Britain
According to the Met Office, temperatures will peak at a relatively mild 9C (48F) today. By Wednesday, it could hit 11C (52F) in the South and 10C (50F) in the North.
But an exceptionally dry 2011, followed by what is shaping up to be the driest winter on record, has left the reservoirs low and rivers parched. Incredibly, several counties are officially in drought already, and experts say that if the heavens don't open soon, the problem will get worse.
While 2011 was Scotland's wettest year on record, parts of England saw very low rainfall. East Anglia had its second driest year and the Midlands its third driest.
The situation hasn't improved in 2012 so far, with below average rainfall in the Midlands, East Anglia and the South East in January.
Ian Barker, the Environment Agency's head of water, land and biodiversity, said: 'It has been an exceptionally dry winter and that has left us with very dry soils.
'It would take an average month's rain to saturate the soil before we then begin to see rainfall percolate down to the water table and bring groundwater levels up.'
Icy waters: Surface of Lake Semer reflects the snow covered Pennines, near Hawes.
Swan lake: Bids take off from a small patch of melted water in the frozen surroundings of Fairburn Ings RSPB Reserve, Castleford.
Two water companies – Anglian and South East – have been granted drought permits that allow them to take more water from rivers to top up their reservoirs. Thames Water has applied for four permits.
Mr Barker said the next few months will be 'critical' to stop the drought spreading further and hosepipe bans coming in.
Wildlife is already suffering, with fish being rescued from dry rivers and birds struggling to find food.
Andrew Chapman, a senior environment planning officer with the Environment Agency, said: 'In simple terms, unless we get a downpour that lasts for several weeks in the very near future, we are in trouble.'
A teenager was airlifted to hospital on Saturday following a sledging accident in Fridaythorpe, near York, at around 1.30pm, an ambulance spokesman said.
Winter wonderland: India Garrod, 16, rides her horse Blue across the Lincolnshire Wolds, near Louth
Frosty: Frozen ladybird at Watt Wood Nature Reserve, Lincolnshire, wears jacket of ice as temperatures plunged to -14C
Firefighters were called to assist with the landing of the helicopter at Bootham Park Hospital, York.
In Cumbria, treacherous fog conditions caused a motorway pile-up on the M6 near Perth yesterday afternoon - leaving one motorist seriously injured in hospital.
Around 12 cars were involved in the smash, which caused miles of tailbacks. Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAA) sent a rapid response car because it was too foggy for a helicopter.
A GNAA spokeswoman said: 'There has been one person who has been seriously injured. Their injuries were not life-threatening. Luckily there were no fatalities.'
Let it snow: Deer feeding at a snowy Wollaton Park in Nottingham
In Buckinghamshire, two dog walkers who watched their helpless pooches drown in the Olympic rowing lake were praised by the fire service for not attempting to rescue them.
The owners were said to have done the right thing by suppressing their 'natural instincts' and not jumping in after their pets, when the animals fell through the ice on Dorney Lake, near High Wycombe, on Saturday.
A fire service spokesman said the public was 'at last getting the message not to risk their own lives trying to rescue their pets'.
He added: 'It is a difficult enough job for firefighters and often ends in human tragedy if owners go on to the ice themselves.
'We are grateful the owners were thinking sensibly and had the presence of mind to stay on the bank and call for help.'
DROUGHT FEARS SPARKED
Much of Europe continues to be gripped by the big freeze, with up to 50cm falling in some places.
Nine people have been killed in Kosovo when an avalanche hit the village of Restelica in south of the country, officials said on Sunday - adding to the 500 plus people killed in the snow and bitter cold across the continent in the past two weeks.
In Montenegro, a state of emergency has been declared following the worst snow fall in more than half a century - leaving hundreds of villages cut off.
But Paul Knightley, forecaster for MeteoGroup, the weather division of the Press Association, said the cold spell is coming to an end in Britain - although it could take some time.
He said: 'We are coming to the end of the cold spell. It's going to be a slow process, it's not going to suddenly be massively mild.
'Some places will see a dramatic change in temperature but it may not be something people necessarily notice because they have been so low.'
He said cloud spreading down the country from the north would bring a rise in temperature and some patchy drizzle and light snow in some parts.
'The snow itself is not going to be near the amounts we have seen but there will be some drizzle which will fall on to very cold ground so we will see the risk of some ice, especially in untreated areas', he added.
Euro freeze: People enjoy a cold winter day on the frozen Lake Pfaeffikersee, near Zurich
The weather wreaked havoc with the weekend's sporting calendar after a number of matches and racing fixtures fell victim to frozen conditions, including the opening round of Rugby League's Northern Rail Cup.
Ambulance crews were called out to three separate cases of people who narrowly avoided tragedy in icy water, West Midlands Ambulance Service said.
A spokeswoman said crews were called to one man who reportedly jumped into a canal near Chancel Way in Halesowen, Birmingham, to rescue his dog. Both were found out of the water when they arrived.
Horse play: The Skikjoering Grand Prix Credit Suisse race was run on the frozen Lake of St Moritz in Switzerland
In a separate call, two teenage boys, aged 13 and 14, were taken to hospital by ambulance after falling through ice in Doxey Marshes, near Creswell Farm Drive, Stafford.
And in a third incident crews were called to Sutton Park, Sutton Coldfield, to reports of children playing on a frozen lake, but no one was hurt after police moved them away, the spokeswoman said.
'Adults and children alike are reminded that frozen lakes, canals and ponds are extremely dangerous and can have serious or even fatal consequences,' she added.
'In all three cases ambulance crews have responded to, those involved have had very lucky escapes.'