In a resurrection worthy of Lazarus, an elderly woman startled police in the United Kingdom on Tuesday as they fished her from the Trent River.

Police Constable Mat Mitchell waded into the river to reach the septuagenarian, after trying to rescue her by throwing a life ring toward her. A passing pleasure boat stopped to bring the policeman closer to the apparently dead body, floating listlessly in the water and looking "very peaceful," according to onlookers.

But when Mitchel reached her, the woman suddenly opened her eyes. She had been in the water for an hour or so.

"Her head was slightly submerged and she really did look dead. Then, in one of the most bizarre experiences of my career, she opened her eyes," the policeman said. "She had the most piercing blue eyes -- it was so bizarre. I stripped off and jumped in the water, she was about 20 metres away, and swam her back to the bank.

"We were more than surprised, I don't think I can repeat what we said."

Mitchell, of the Nottinghamshire Police, then pulled the woman onto the bank at a nearby marina with the help of another police officer in what he called one of the "most bizarre" days of his career.

Police Constable Katie Eustace, who assisted with the rescue, was equally amazed. "It's certainly not everyday you go wading into the water," she told reporters. "We were preparing for the worst so it was so nice that this had a happy ending."

The woman, who was not identified by media, was taken to a hospital and will be soon discharged.

"I have spoken to her husband since the incident and she's doing well," Mitchell said.

However, reporters with BBC were unable to get a better explanation for how the woman came to be floating in the river.