Public help canoe instructor save man in Shrewsbury river rescue drama

A canoe instructor and several members of the public rallied to help rescue a man from the River Severn in Shrewsbury.

The man was rescued after falling from Frankwell Bridge in Shrewsbury on Saturday afternoon
The man was rescued after falling from Frankwell Bridge in Shrewsbury on Saturday afternoon

The alarm was raised yesterday afternoon when the man fell from Frankwell Bridge. The incident happened right in front of Shrewsbury Canoe Hire in Frankwell Quay, so instructor James Edwards took to his boat to try and find the man.

Several concerned members of the public tried to help James from the bridge and the riverbank, and directed him to where they thought he should look. One man was seen climbing over the railings on Smithfield Road and clambering down to try and help locate the man. Search and rescue workers and the emergency services were also quickly on the scene.

Thankfully, James was able to find the man and take him from the Smithfield Road side of the river, back over the Frankwell, where people on the bank were able to help him out of the water. Medics assessed the man and another person who helped with the rescue.

Nigel Conway, who runs Shrewsbury Canoe Hire, said: "It happened right in front of our group. James told me he was going out to try and find him. I said what I always say, that his own safety should come first when he's out on the boat. He has a calm head on his shoulders and knows what you need to do in these situations.

"The emergency services thanked him a lot. It's a credit to him, and his 10 years in the industry.

"But it wasn't just James. Other people were helping from the side, and there was someone climbing down the railings by Smithfield Road to try and help this guy. It was a community effort. People will go to extraordinary lengths and put themselves at risk when things like this happen.

"James is trained to go in, and knows if there's danger to himself, not to go any further. It's his second year with us and I remember feeling quite lucky when we found him."

This latest rescue was yet another serious incident relating to the River Severn in Shrewsbury in around a month, sadly including two deaths.

Nathan Fleetwood, aged 21, was found in the river near Greyfriars Bridge, several weeks after going missing after a night out on March 27. Toby Jones, aged 31, died after he was pulled from the water at Victoria Quay in the early hours of April 2.

A couple of days later, in the early hours of April 4, Dan Walker was saved from the river by student Will Mowbray, who dived in and held his head above water until emergency services arrived.

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