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Raft man rescued from raging River Irwell
A 55-YEAR-OLD man fell into a raging river and had to cling to a tree until fire crews could rescue him yesterday.
Fire crews said the man fell into the River Irwell while out rafting in powerful currents caused by the heavy rain at around 2pm.
A group of kayakers found him and used ropes to get him on some steep banking.
Marooned on the banking, the man clung to a tree, with half of his body still in the water. The kayakers helped him stay there until firefighters arrived.
Fire crews from Ramsbottom, Bury and Eccles stabilised the man with rescue lines while they waited for the boat team from Heywood Fire Station to arrive. The boat crew were then able to get the man out of the water safely. He was treated in hospital for hypothermia and cuts to his legs.
Senior officers said the man ‘would almost certainly have died’ if it wasn’t for the quick-thinking kayakers.
Station manager Kev O’Connor said: “The three kayakers had every piece of equipment going, including ropes, wet suits, helmets and mobile phones, and without them and their equipment the man would almost certainly have died – the water was staggeringly fast.
“When crews arrived, the kayakers were in the water with the man and he was up against the bank, practically unconscious.
“The crews secured him using rope lines to stop him going down into the water while the water rescue boat made its way to the scene.
“The water rescue team are highly trained and have very strict procedures – they put a team upstream and one downstream to protect the crews, the casualty and the kayakers, then they had a team go down to rescue the casualty and bring him back up the bank.”