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Brave Lowestoft pair's dramatic rescue

PUBLISHED: 08:08 02 October 2009 | UPDATED: 14:23 06 July 2010

A NORMAL day picking up litter from along the seafront in Lowestoft turned into a day of drama for two brave men.

And the pair were this week hailed as heroes for the part they played in rescuing a man, who is believed to be in his mid 60s, who fell from the town's South Pier.

A NORMAL day picking up litter from along the seafront in Lowestoft turned into a day of drama for two brave men.

And the pair were this week hailed as heroes for the part they played in rescuing a man, who is believed to be in his mid 60s, who fell from the town's South Pier.

The drama unfolded at about 8.15am on Tuesday when the man fell and hit the rocks near Children's Corner.

First on the scene were Waveney Norse employees John O'Neill and Robin Nicholls.

Mr O'Neill 61, said: “We had just litter picked the pier and a man walked past and we exchanged `Good morning's' - we just thought he was going for a walk down the pier.”

Little did the pair know that the man would then fall into the sea landing heavily on the rocks below, suffering head injuries and a serious compound fracture of his ankle.

“It was a few minutes later that we heard someone shouting out and we spotted someone bobbing up and down in the water - so we hurried down to help,” Mr O'Neill said. “Only his head was visible, but we could see he was bleeding, so Robin rang the emergency services and I thought I had better get him out quickly.”

Mr O'Neill then scaled the wall and got down onto the rocks, where he managed to pull the victim out of the water and onto the rocks.

“My only thoughts were to get him out as he was floundering and badly injured as his left leg was in a bad way - it was quite nasty,” Mr O'Neill revealed.

“He was shouting and shaking, in shock and did not look well at all. He was completely helpless and was on the verge of going under the water.”

With everything being relayed to the emergency services by Mr Nicholls, Lowestoft coastguards, the fire service, an ambulance crew and Lowestoft Lifeboat were quickly on the scene and the victim was stretchered away to later be taken by ambulance to the James Paget University Hospital, at Gorleston.

Reflecting on the roles they had in saving the man this week, Mr Nicholls said: “I am glad to have helped and just glad that we were there as there was no-one else about. My instinct was to call for help and John scrambled in to his aid - he must have been in the water for a good 20 minutes in total and seeing the state he was in I hope that he will be ok.”

Praising their efforts, Andrew Sutherland, deputy station officer for the Lowestoft and Southwold coastguard rescue teams, told The Journal: “John and Robin were the first on the scene and they went beyond the call of duty. John braved the rocks below and he deserves a pat on the back for his efforts in helping to save the man.”

Echoing those sentiments, Waveney District councillor Stephen Ardley said: “We are really proud of both the guys for their quick thinking and selflessness. We all wonder what we would do in a situation like this, but here they didn't think twice and their bravery was amazing.”

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