Exercise turns into reality as fire crews rescue man from river off Purfleet Quay, King’s Lynn

Emergency services rescue a man who fell into waters at Purfleet Quay in King's Lynn.

Emergency services rescue a man who fell into waters at Purfleet Quay in King's Lynn. - Credit: Archant

It was supposed to be a routine day of training in water rescues for the region's firefighters. But just as the crews were preparing to take to the River Ouse near the centre of King's Lynn, they were called out to a real-life rescue less than a mile away.

Emergency services rescue a man who fell into waters at Purfleet Quay in King's Lynn.

Emergency services rescue a man who fell into waters at Purfleet Quay in King's Lynn. - Credit: Archant

A man had fallen into the icy waters of the Purfleet, near the town's Custom House, and was unable to get out.

The crews immediately abandoned their training and were at the scene of the incident within five minutes.

As crowds gathered on the King Street bridge and along Purfleet Quay, a small inflatable boat was launched and the man taken on board.

He was taken ashore near the Custom House and placed on a stretcher and into a waiting ambulance.

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Bob Ayres, station manager for King's Lynn, said: 'We had a crew from King's Lynn and another from Thetford about to get into the waters as part of their training. Then we received the call.

'Luckily we were very close by and we managed to get to the scene very, very quickly.'

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Police were first called shortly before 10.50am to reports of a man seen in the water fully clothed. The ambulance service and Norfolk fire and rescue were sent shortly afterwards.

One onlooker, who declined to be named, said: 'We didn't actually see him fall in but all the emergency services were here very quickly. I hope he's OK – those waters are going to be extremely cold today.'

A spokesman for the East of England Ambulance Service said he was conscious and breathing and was taken to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King's Lynn.

His condition is not thought to be life threatening.

Have you ever been involved in a water rescue? Email louise.hepburn@archant.co.uk