A six-month old baby boy was rescued from the icy sea by the Marina Dock Master, George Reeder after his pushchair was blown into the water by a gust of wind. The infant who was strapped in his stroller as his mother walked along the quayside at WatchetHarbour, Somerset was swept into the water at 08:00 GMT on Sunday 27th January by exceptionally strong gusty winds.
Mr Reeder, who has worked at the marina for 11 years, said he heard screaming from a couple of hundred yards away before jumping on his bike to see what had happened. He said: “I don’t know exactly how he went in, but I was on the esplanade and heard the commotion and I assumed somebody’s dog had gone into the water, so I went cycling over. They were on the West Pier, where you walk up to the lighthouse, some way away, but the noise travels and I could hear screaming from a woman.” “I dashed to the water’s edge after hearing screaming and saw the child’s upturned pushchair in the water.”
63-year-old George said: “The mother screamed, “My baby has gone in the water.” “I immediately went to the edge and I could see the pushchair upside down, floating away. I just jumped in and pulled the pushchair back over to the edge of the quay and then a fisherman threw a rope down and I tied the baby on and they lifted him out.”
Then he added, “The poor mother, she’ll probably never get over something like that, it’s a parentʼs worst nightmare.” A police spokesman said: “It is believed a gust of wind blew the buggy with the child in it into the water.
The baby was still in the pushchair, it was very cold, it is amazing really because he must have been in the water for a good five minutes.” Once the baby boy (Sam) was safely on the quayside a passing lady began CPR prior to the ambulance crew arriving.
Then a local member of the coastguard took over the CPR from the woman and Mr Reeder said the baby started to take in breaths.
Mr Reeder said: “You could see his little mouth opening and taking in a breath and that’s when I thought “Thank God, he’s going to be OK.”
The baby was immediately airlifted to hospital by the coastguard for treatment. A police spokesman later confirmed that the childʼs condition was no longer believed to be life threatening and had been moved from intensive care.
Speaking to ITV’s Daybreak this morning, Mr Reeder laughed at suggestions that he was a “hero”, adding: “I’m just the fella that jumped in. I am just glad I could help.” Speaking at the family’s home in Watchet, Sam’s grandmother, Elaine Stevens, 57, told the Daily Mirror: “The doctors are not so worried about him now, but he did get some dirty water in his lungs. They are treating him for that. He’s not quite out of the woods yet, but the signs are he’s going to be OK.”
Desperately frightening time for mother and son, but thanks to the very brave actions of the dock master, at least one with a happy ending for all concerned…well done George.