WATCH: Interview with quay attendant who commandeered hire boat during intense river rescue

Broads Authority ranger, Christon Iliffe, helped save a man who had fallen into the river near Bisho

Broads Authority ranger, Christon Iliffe, helped save a man who had fallen into the river near Bishop's Bridge. Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

A Broads Authority quay attendant had to commandeer a hire boat during a dramatic rescue on the River Wensum.

Christon Iliffe was securing a boat at Norwich Yacht Station on Sunday when he noticed a vessel 'pirouetting' in the water.

The 31-year-old went over to investigate, near Bishop Bridge, and was told a man had been found face down in the river.

Moments earlier two members of the public had jumped in the water to pull the man ashore.

Mr Iliffe, who is also a volunteer coast guard rescue officer, said his training immediately took over.

Broads Authority ranger, Christon Iliffe, helped save a man who had fallen into the river near Bisho

Broads Authority ranger, Christon Iliffe, helped save a man who had fallen into the river near Bishop's Bridge. Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant


You may also want to watch:


He said: 'There was a little hire boat in the middle of the river and I called them to me so I could drive it to where the incident was happening.

'The two guys were recovering him from the water as I got over to them.

Most Read

'He was having a lot of difficulty breathing and I could see he was choking.'

Mr Iliffe said the man's lips were blue and he was 'freezing' cold.

Adam Merchant, who dived into the Wensum to rescue a man seen floating face-down on Sunday, with dau

Adam Merchant, who dived into the Wensum to rescue a man seen floating face-down on Sunday, with daughter Isla, five. Picture: Adam Merchant - Credit: Archant

'We got him out of his clothes and as soon as we did that, the police arrived,' he said.

'I called for a defibrillator and the officer put it on him, but it did not advise a shock, so we carried out CPR.'

The man, thought to be in his late 40s or early 50s, is now recovering.

Police do not believe there are any suspicious circumstances.

The spot on the River Wensum where a man was rescued from the water. Picture: Dominic Gilbert

The spot on the River Wensum where a man was rescued from the water. Picture: Dominic Gilbert - Credit: Archant

The incident happened at around 4pm on Sunday, August 19.

Adam Merchant, 39, from Colchester, was the first member of the public to jump in to try and rescue the man.

He was then joined another man wearing a life jacket.

Mr Merchant later praised Mr Iliffe's actions.

He said the Broads Authority employee 'commandeered a boat quite masterfully' and 'took control of the situation alongside police'.

'He knew exactly what to do,' Mr Merchant said.

Mr Merchant described the incident as a 'pretty intense 15 minutes'.

He said: 'I just wasn't left with any choice but to go in and get him.

'It seemed like that's what I had to do. Everyone acted so quickly.

'He was probably under the water no more than two minutes.

'Had it been four, he probably would not have survived.'

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter