Hotelier tells of river rescue drama
A woman walking her dog saved the life of a drowning pensioner by holding him above the water for 20 minutes after hearing his cries for help.Caroline Coe found the man clinging to some tyres at the edge of a quay in Oulton Broad on Monday morning when her early morning walk turned into a dramatic rescue bid as she spent the next 20 minutes stopping the man from drowning.
A woman walking her dog saved the life of a drowning pensioner by holding him above the water for 20 minutes after hearing his cries for help.
Caroline Coe found the man clinging to some tyres at the edge of a quay in Oulton Broad on Monday morning when her early morning walk turned into a dramatic rescue bid as she spent the next 20 minutes stopping the man from drowning.
After hearing a noise coming from near the Broadland Holiday Village, Mrs Coe ran towards the water and saw a man hanging on to the edge of the mooring,
Realising that the 77-year-old man was stuck in the water, she lowered herself on to the bow of a boat which was moored nearby, leaned over and grabbed hold of his arm.
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'I grabbed him and managed to pull him towards the boat I was lying on so he could get hold of some rails. Another man who was nearby ran to get a lifebelt, which we managed to get round him so he could then get his legs up on to the tyres to hold himself up a little bit - it's lucky he was so agile for his age,' she said.
Mrs Coe lay stretched across the front of a boat, holding on to the man to stop him from sinking.
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She said: 'We couldn't manage to lift him right out of the water but with some of the other people there, we managed to get a rope round him. Then they held on to the rope to help keep him up and I kept hold of him round the shoulders until more help arrived.'
Waiting anxiously for the South Broads inshore lifeboat to arrive, Mrs Coe kept a tight grip on the man and tried to keep him calm by telling him that help was on its way.
The lifeboat and fire service water rescue teams arrived at about 8.40am - believed to be about half an hour after the man had fallen in- and managed to get the man safely to shore.
Last night, it was still not known who the man was or how he ended up in the water. He was taken to the James Paget University Hospital on Monday and although he was very cold, he was not thought to have suffered any injuries.
Mrs Coe, who owns the Ivy House Country Hotel in Oulton Broad, said: 'It was really a joint effort. I'm just glad we were there to help and that the man is ok.'
A coastguard spokesman said: 'It is quite a secluded area at this time of year, so he was very lucky that someone was there and saw him. If nobody had seen him, he might well not have been able to get out. We think he could have been in the water for about half an hour.'