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Costessey man relives dramatic river rescue

PUBLISHED: 15:00 19 March 2010 | UPDATED: 08:59 02 July 2010

Matt Crowhurst beside the Wensum at Barn Road in Norwich

Matt Crowhurst beside the Wensum at Barn Road in Norwich

Jon Welch

A father-of-two has relived the moment he pulled a distressed young man from the River Wensum after an apparent suicide attempt.

Matt Crowhurst and two other people took part in the rescue after spotting the man in the water close to the Halfords store, near the roundabout at the junction of Barn Road and St Crispins Road.

A father-of-two has relived the moment he pulled a distressed young man from the River Wensum after an apparent suicide attempt.

Matt Crowhurst and two other people took part in the rescue after spotting the man in the water close to the Halfords store, near the roundabout at the junction of Barn Road and St Crispins Road.

Mr Crowhurst, 36, of Costessey, was driving over the bridge close to the roundabout when a young person he was travelling with saw somebody in the water.

“At first I brushed it off, but then I pulled over in a lay-by and sure enough, there was a man in the river,” he said.

“He must have been in his early 20s. He was shouting and splashing a bit. He didn't speak much English and he wasn't making much sense. He was just trying to stay afloat.

“Another bloke on the other side of the river threw him a buoyancy aid. I crossed the bridge to the other side of the river. The man in the river managed to get the buoyancy aid round him, and the other man still had hold of the rope and was pulling him in.”

Mr Crowhurst is a personal adviser for Connexions Norfolk, a careers information, advice and guidance service for young people aged 13 to 19, and had been giving a young client a lift into the city.

“There was a drop of about 4ft down the river bank but the person I was with held my legs and I leant over and pulled the chap out of the river,” he said.

“He was shaking so much with cold and shock. Some elderly ladies from the flats nearby came out with a blanket and covered him up.

“The water was freezing. I asked him how he'd got in there. He said he'd had a bad week and had jumped in.”

The boy with Mr Crowhurst had telephoned the emergency services and police, firefighters and ambulance were quickly on the scene.

The incident happened at about 4pm on Tuesday. The man, thought to be from Eastern Europe, was assessed and treated at the scene by an ambulance crew and taken to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. His injuries were understood not to be life-threatening.

Mr Crowhurst, who used to swim competitively for the Norwich Swans club, said: “I did a life-saving course years ago but I've never had to put it into practice. Luckily I didn't have to go in the water but I think I would have done if I'd had to.”

A Norfolk police spokesman said: “We would like to commend the member of the public who helped the young man out of the water.

“We would, however, advise people never to put themselves in immediate danger but to call the emergency services straight away.”

Do you know someone who has acted selflessly to save others? Call reporter Jon Welch on 01603 772476 or email jon.welch@archant.co.uk

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