Praise for Norwich barman who helped save man’s life by pulling him from river

Adam and Eve barman Sam Ings, who helped pull a man from the river. Picture: PETER WALSH

Adam and Eve barman Sam Ings, who helped pull a man from the river. Picture: PETER WALSH - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2016

A Norwich barman has today described the dramatic moment he helped save the life of a man who had fallen into the river at night.

Sam Ings, 19, was working at the Adam and Eve pub in Norwich when he discovered someone might have fallen into the River Wensum near to the St Helen's Wharf car park.

Mr Ings, who has worked at the Bishopgate pub for about a year, went to investigate after land lady Rita McCluskey told him she had heard screaming and shouting coming from the river.

The former Norwich School pupil said they started running over after the calls for help became more frantic.

Mr Ings said: 'He was in the water and the bank was slippy so there was no chance of him getting up on his own.

'I leapt over the railings and tried to pull him out.'

The teenager had one hand on the railings and the other trying to rescue the man who it is thought had slipped in while trying to navigate his way around a gate on the riverside path which was locked.

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Mr Ings said: 'He was in there for a couple of minutes before he managed to grab my arm. Rita gave him a good talking to and convinced him to take my arm and eventually managed to pull him out.

'He called himself an idiot but was relieved to be out.'

Mr Ings, who is currently on a gap year and hopes to study drama in the future, said he had acted on instinct.

The incident, which happened at about 10.30pm on Monday, June 20, after England had drawn 0-0 with Slovakia at Euro 2016, meant it was an eventful end to the shift for Mr Ings – who said he would do the same again if needed.

He said: 'I would do it again, without a doubt.

'I'm not just going to leave someone – I don't think my mum would approve.'

The barman's actions have today been praised by landlady Rita McCluskey who described it as a 'Herculean effort'.

She said: 'Sam jumped over the railings and pulled him out. I said to the guy [in the river] that he had just saved his life and we had a group hug.

'It was a Herculean effort to pull him out of the river. I thought about phoning the fire brigade but Sam had already pulled him out.'

The rescue came just days after a woman in her 30s was pulled out of the same stretch of river.

According to police, the woman, believed to be in her 30s, was walking her dog along the river at St Helens Wharf at about 4.55pm on June 15 when the dog fell into the water.

PC Dan Taylor, who attended the incident, said the woman had gone into the river to rescue the dog, but found herself unable to climb back up to the walkway.

Thankfully for the woman a group of five to six men came to her aid, while another member of the public alerted emergency services.

The group used a lifebuoy which was available close by and were able to lift the woman and her dog to safety as officers from the police and Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service arrived.

The fire service sent appliances from Sprowston and Earlham fire stations, as well as the water rescue team from Carrow Fire Station.

With the summer holidays fast approaching, the Norfolk Drowning Prevention Forum has been launched to try to cut the risk of people drowning on the county's waterways and reduce the number of accidental drowning by half by 2020.

The forum, the first of its type in England, is made up from a variety of agencies with water responsibilities including HM Coastguard, Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service, the RNLI, The Broads Authority and Norfolk police.

It launched yesterday at Whitlingham Country Park in Trowse, near Norwich, with exercises taking place with water rescue and dive teams to carry out a simulated rescue and potential search.

The multi-agency forum is aligned to the National Water Safety Forum and the UK Drowning Prevention Strategy 2016-26 which was launched last month and which aims to reduce the number of accidental drowning fatalities by 50pc by 2020.