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'He was very fortunate we were there' - grandfather who rescued man from Broads warns of dangers of the water

PUBLISHED: 20:02 02 July 2019 | UPDATED: 08:56 03 July 2019

Emergency services were called to Horning Broad after a man fell off a boat. Photo: Hemsby Lifeboat

Emergency services were called to Horning Broad after a man fell off a boat. Photo: Hemsby Lifeboat

Archant

A grandfather who helped rescue a stricken man who fell from his boat in the Broads has warned others to respect the water.

Emergency services were called to Horning Broad after a man fell off a boat. Photo: Hemsby LifeboatEmergency services were called to Horning Broad after a man fell off a boat. Photo: Hemsby Lifeboat

An emergency response was scrambled to Horning Broad at 10.20am on June 22 after a man tripped and fell from the back of a day boat.

David Wynn, 70, and his grandson Conor Fairbrother, 22, spotted the man "labouring" in the water as they passed in their boat.

"We could see a day boat about 40 yards in front of him," said Mr Wynn. "He was swimming and at first we thought he was just being silly.

"Then we realised his swimming wasn't very skilful and he was labouring a little."

The pair threw the man a buoy which he latched onto at the second attempt.

"At that point he was distressed, he was breathing very heavily and gasping," said Mr Wynn.

"I was at the helm and Conor made sure he was safe to the bow while I kept the boat in reverse and tucked it into the reeds."

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The boat the man had fallen off had turned around and he was helped out of the water by three friends.

"By that time I rang the coastguard because he wanted checking over, he had been in the water that long. It was quite cold," Mr Wynn said.

"Neither of us are heroes we just happened to be there and available. I just think it should be noted anybody in the water who didn't want to be there should be helped and checked out.

"If there hadn't been a boat about I think he would have been in extremely serious straits.

"He was struggling and was very fortunate we were there.

"If a swimmer is in the water deliberately it is his choice. If he has fallen off a boat it should be taken seriously which is why we called 999."

Fire station manager Stefan Rider also warned boaters to take care on the water.

He said: "We understand people want to have a good time and have a drink but there is potential for accidents if you do so to excess because it's a dangerous environment.

"We would rather not have to attend incidents that could be avoided by people taking care. Respect the water and wear life jackets or flotation devices at all times when you're out there."

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