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Brave mum risks life jumping into dangerous river to save son’s favourite toy rabbit

A mum jumped into a fast-flowing river to save her son’s favourite toy rabbit after the wind blew it out of his hands.

Lou Austin was carrying her two-year-old son, Tommy, over a bridge when a sudden gust tossed Bun Buns the rabbit into the water below.

As the toy was swept downstream Lou, 27, handed Tommy to his dad, gave her engagement ring to a stranger and left her mobile phone on the side before ‘cannon-balling’ into the 5ft deep water.

She waded 200ft up to her neck to reach Bun Buns.

At one point Lou began to sink into the thick sludge on the river bed and her fiance Richard Harvey had to reach down from the 4ft high bridge and pull her out.

Lou, from Bridport, Dorset, said she had ‘no choice’ but to save the toy bunny because her son cannot sleep without it.

Speaking after the ordeal on the River Brit at West Bay, Lou said: “We had gone for a family meal and were walking back when the wind blew the bunny into the river.

“I said to my partner, ‘I’ve got to get him’, and he said, ‘you can’t go in there, it’s disgusting!’

“My little boy has never slept without that bunny. He has had it since birth. I have tried to find him a replacement but he just doesn’t take to anything else.

“I just thought ‘I need a good night’s sleep tonight.’ I had no choice but to go in and get it.

“I could see it bobbing up and down on the water.

“I gave my engagement ring to a stranger and got a hair bobble from another woman to tie up my hair and I cannon-balled off the 6ft high wall.

“The current was strong so I was trying to tread water. It felt like there were a load of eels at my feet and I was covered in sludge.

“The rabbit had gone about 60 metres down stream.

“Once I had it I swam back to the bridge. When I was there my partner had to pull me out because I was starting to sink into the sludge.

“Luckily my car was only about a minute walk away.”

Cameron Love, who witnessed the incident, said: “I happened to look in the river to see a cuddly toy in there and thought ‘that’s a shame’.

“I then noticed someone trying to help somebody out of the water and realised it was the woman’s partner.”

West Bay is used to seeing scenes of drama as it provided the setting for the ITV crime series Broadchurch.