Baby river rescue drama at Reedham

A Broads holidaymaker yesterday relived her desperate struggle to rescue an 11-month-old baby blown into the river in his pushchair by a freak gust of wind.

The boy's mother had been feeding ducks on the quayside at Reedham, near Great Yarmouth, when the drama unfolded at about 2pm on Monday in front of horrified boaters.

The mother, who lives locally, instinctively jumped into the choppy River Yare after the red pushchair and she was quickly joined in the water by two male holidaymakers off nearby boats.

Janice Jackson, 63, from Crystal Palace, in London, was on board a Summercraft cruiser coming into moor alongside the quay when she heard the pair shout out that someone was in the river.

She said: 'By the time I had leapt on to the quay, both men were in the water trying to help them; the baby disappeared right under the water at one stage.

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'I ran up and tried to help one of them lift the pushchair out of the water, but it was difficult because it was so waterlogged.

'I eventually managed to unstrap the baby and lift him to safety; he was screaming his head off and had turned blue.'

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Mrs Jackson, on holiday with family and friends, said the two men, helped by her friend Paul Pink, 43, then managed to pull the mother out using a boat hook.

She said: 'It was fortunate it happened at a time boats were moored along the quay or the help might not have come in time.

'We took them back on to our boat and gave them blankets and drinks and biscuits until her partner came to pick them up.'

She said the family came back in the evening to thank them and give them a box of chocolates and had been disappointed they could not thank the other two Good Samaritans who had left Reedham on their boats shortly after the incident.

The mother, who does not wish to be named, yesterday said she and her son had recovered but she remained shaken by what had happened.

Steve Birtles, the Broads Authority's head of safety management, said: 'This was clearly a freak accident but we would certainly urge people to take care near the water and be aware of the weather conditions; for example the quayside can be slippery if it has been raining.'

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