Team of five rescue man from drowning in Norwich river drama
- Credit: Copyright: Archant 2016
It was a birthday to remember for Gavin Meredith after he was part of a five-person team who unexpectedly found themselves having to save a man from drowning.
Mr Meredith, 34, of Costessey, was celebrating his birthday on a hired boat on the River Wensum, in Norwich, with his wife Sherrie Meredith, 29, and their friends Darren Claxton and Julie Dixon, who both live in the city.
But the relaxed atmosphere was shattered when they saw a man, described as in his 30s, battling to stay afloat in the water.
'We could see he was fully clothed and every so often his head would go underwater for a bit,' Mr Meredith said.
'We tried to get him out of the water a few times but it wasn't easy.'
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The quartet were helped by Jason Thrower, 40, who was sitting on the riverbank with his girlfriend Poppy Crew, 26, when the drama unfolded in front of them.
He boarded Mr Meredith's boat and after further attempts managed to haul the man, who has not been identified, out of the water.
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They put him in the recovery position and took him to riverbank where he was treated by staff from East of England Ambulance Service.
The incident occurred on Saturday at about 4.20pm.
'I'm 100pc certain that if we hadn't been there then the man would have drowned,' Mr Meredith said.
'He was struggling in the water and when we managed to haul him up he was unconscious.
'It was such a strange thing to happen - and it felt like it lasted for ages even though it was probably only four or five minutes. When my wife and I went to bed that night we couldn't stop thinking about it.
'The man was lucky because we hadn't seen a single other boat on the river that day.
'It was a team effort from everyone to get him up. I think we just acted as you would do in that situation.
'Darren did a great job of steering the boat as it was his first time.'
Mr Thrower, of Norwich, who works in the construction sector, said he was preparing to jump in to try to help the man when Mr Meredith's boat approached.
'Thankfully the boat appeared and we managed to pull him out,' he said.
A spokesman for Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service said the man was taken in the custody of the police.
The fire service sent the water rescue team from Carrow, as well as another crew of firefighters from Carrow, and one from Sprowston as back up.
Broadsbeat, part of Norfolk Police which patrols the waterways, tweeted: 'Been a busy one on #norfolkbroads #summerholidays #hotweather Please be careful on/around water #lifejackets #H2O