The sort of man who would risk his life for another...
PUBLISHED: 10:46 27 January 2012
A LOWESTOFT lifeboatman has been recognised for his bravery after he risked his life to save a man by jumping into bitterly cold water in the town's harbour bridge channel.
The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) has announced that deputy second coxswain Karl Jackson is to be presented with a framed letter of thanks for his actions during the incident in the early hours of October 25 last year.
The drama began after the alarm was raised by the bridge operator when he saw the man go into the water on the Lake Lothing side of the bridge just before 2am.
Mr Jackson and fellow crewmen of The Spirit of Lowestoft were called to the scene.
John Fox, coxswain of Lowestoft lifeboat, said: “The bridge was raised for us and we saw the man trying to hold onto the pilings at the side of the bridge channel.
“It was dark, raining and blowing a near gale causing a swell, and making it difficult for him to hold on.
“Water was breaking over the casualty and he was not responding to shouts from either the lifeboat or the police ashore, so I asked Karl to swim to the man.
“There was no time for him to don a dry suit, so Karl entered the water from the lifeboat wearing his normal RNLI Musto yellow protective clothing, and relying on his lifejacket to keep him safe.”
Lifeboat operations director Michael Vlasto added: “Karl quickly swam to the man and broke his hold on the piling.
“Using a heaving line, he was able to pull him back to the lifeboat where they were lifted on board by other crew members.
“The man was placed in the recovery position, covered in blankets and swiftly taken to the nearby lifeboat mooring in the yacht basin where he was handed into the care of the ambulance service.
“It is at times like this that the training and dedication of our volunteer lifeboat crews really pays off.”
Mr Vlasto’s letter to Karl announcing the award, concluded: “There is no doubt that your prompt and selfless actions were instrumental in saving the man’s life. Well done and thank you.”