AN EASTLEIGH man who risked his own life to save a teenage girl from drowning has been branded a "hero".

Andy Hand-Davis, a 62-year-old retired police officer, had driven down to Mayflower Park in Southampton on Saturday afternoon, June 27, to catch the view and get an ice cream with his wife, Kim.

Little did he know that only a few short moments later he would be battling the freezing water to rescue an 18-year-old girl from drowning.

While enjoying the view, Andy watched as a young girl approached the water carrying only a small dingy, one oar and a backpack.

"This immediately sounded alarm bells," he said.

"People were smiling nervously as she entered the sea."

Andy approached the sea wall to see what she was doing and it was immediately apparent that she was drowning about 20 to 30 feet away from the shore.

He added: "I could see that she would die without my intervention and so entered the water and swam to her and brought her back to shore.

"At some point in, due to how rough the sea was, [I believe] her ankle was broken and I was unable to scale the sea wall and bring her to safety.

"I was trying to keep her head above the water as much as I could.

"I was then advised from shore that the lifeboat had instructed that we stay in the water until there arrival.

"We both remained in the water for between 20 to 30 minutes at which time hypothermia was starting to kick in.

"I’m 62 years old but was not prepared to see her die without at least trying to save her.

"I had no choice other than to enter the water."

After what felt like a long period of time in the water, a lifeboat arrived to rescue the pair.

Once on dry land, the girl was taken to hospital for treatment and Andy was treated for hypothermia.

On social media, Andy has been branded a hero by many for his part in saving the girl's life.

The Daily Echo understands that Andy has since been nominated by Hamble Lifeboat Rescue Team for a bravery award for his part in saving the girl's life.