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Public rush to aid of 73-year-old canoeist on the River Wensum

PUBLISHED: 16:29 24 July 2018 | UPDATED: 16:29 24 July 2018

Canoeing accident in river off Hellesdon Mill Lane. John Eagles and his daughter Jane Eagles, who witnessed the accident. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Canoeing accident in river off Hellesdon Mill Lane. John Eagles and his daughter Jane Eagles, who witnessed the accident. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2018

Members of the public rushed to the aid of a 73-year-old canoeist who got into difficulties on the River Wensum.

Canoeing accident in river off Hellesdon Mill Lane.
Picture: ANTONY KELLYCanoeing accident in river off Hellesdon Mill Lane. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Witnesses described how four people managed to pull the man from the water near Hellesdon Mill Lane on Tuesday afternoon (July 24).

They then performed CPR on him until emergency services arrived at the scene.

Jane Eagles, from Bowthorpe, said she arrived at the river with her father John just as the man was being pulled out.

The pair were due to go canoeing themselves.

She said: “When we got here there were people running about and there was a lady shouting to call an ambulance, which another woman did.

“There was then a group of people who pulled the man out of the water and followed instructions through the 999 call on how to do CPR.

“I was quite shocked to see what was happening, but I was also relieved that there were so many people around.”

The 41-year-old said she helped direct the ambulance crew to where the man was, adding that it arrived within minutes.

She said: “The man’s friend was grateful to those who helped.”

Her father, Mr Eagles, 71, said it looked as though the man had been in a dark-coloured inflatable kayak on the river.

He said the man’s friend, along with two canoeists and another member of the public helped with the rescue.

“They were having some difficulty getting him out of the water because it is quite deep,” he said.

Norfolk Police said officers were called to the scene by paramedics at just after 12.30pm.

They said there were reports that the man had been rescued from the river.

While witnesses said the man had been in an inflatable kayak, police said it is believed he had been on a dinghy.

Police confirmed the man had received CPR at the scene.

A spokesman for the East of England Ambulance Service said: “We can confirm that an ambulance attended the scene at 12.35pm and transported a 73-year-old man to Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital.”

His condition is not known.

• Did you help with the rescue or did you see what happened? Email luke.powell@archant.co.uk or call 01603 772684

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