Canoeist Rescued in River Trip Drama

Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England), December 6, 2005 | Go to article overview

Canoeist Rescued in River Trip Drama


Byline: By Vince Gledhill

Quick-thinking firefighter Tony Carter threw a lifeline to save a canoeist from certain death.

Spaniard Luis Sanchez Perales was thrown from his craft when swept over a weir into the raging River Wansbeck.

The 29-year-old tried desperately to get to safety as he became caught in the turbulent water at the foot of the weir, at East Mill, Morpeth, but soon became exhausted.

When a first attempt to rescue him failed, his fate looked sealed. But as Mr Perales was swept further downstream Mr Carter was waiting.

Mr Perales, a student, said today: "When the kayak became stuck I got out and the water current was so strong I could not get my feet on the river bed, so I had to hang on to the boat.

"As I was hanging on I began to feel myself losing energy, and when my friends could not reach me I began to get scared but I kept telling them I was alright and that I needed help.

"I could see one of the fire engines but it was difficult to turn my head in their direction and I just keep telling myself to hang on to the boat, but it was getting harder to breath.

"When the fire crews arrived I remember letting go of the boat to try to catch a rope but then my other hand gave way and I was swept along the river. I just curled into a ball and tried to keep my head up.

"I can't remember anything else. I tried to open my eyes and it was all dark, and then suddenly I could breath properly again and I was on the shore."

Today he thanked Tony for saving his life. "I feel so lucky and I think everyone who was there that day saved my life. …

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