Davey, 17, tells how he helped save Brixham harbour fall man
THE mystery surrounding the identity of a young rescuer, who came to the aid of a drowning man in Brixham harbour, has been solved.
Davey Wilkinson Lessels (pictured) rushed to the aid of 69-year-old Lenn John, who was hanging from his boat by his fingertips after falling into the harbour.
17-year-old Davey was on a training placement with South West Marine Training at the time of the incident and organised the rescue in line with the Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers he has just received.
Davey heard someone calling for help, but did not register at first until he heard the distress call again.
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He said he saw Mr John in the water and made his way to the slipway so he could try to find a boat to reach him.
Jake Hill and his boss, Derek Clyburn, from Brixham company AC Print, were working on a new sign at the Smugglers Story on the harbourside.
Jake was joined by Davey and the pair went into the water to find a tender boat.
Davey called out for the tether to be cut, then the two lads rowed out to Mr John.
Davey said: "I had just completed some training with regard to marine industry safety. I trained to get people out of the water.
"I could feel the adrenaline pumping. It was the first time I was actually doing what I had trained to do."
Davey went into the water to retrieve the dinghy and rowed out with Jake to save Mr John, who was unable to get on to the boat because his waders were filled with water.
Davey not only managed to pull him out of the water, but also retrieved his heart condition medication bag from the water. Davey added: "I kept talking to the man in the water to reassure him we were coming and to give him the mental strength to hang on.
"I got hold of his jacket. Jake and I moved him round to the back of the tender because it is shallower and easier to climb back on board.
"We put our arms underneath his armpits, but he was too heavy.
"We grabbed his leg and managed to empty his waders, which were full of water. That made it easier for him to put his leg into the boat. Then we hauled him up.
"If we hadn't got him he would have gone straight down to the bottom and that would have been a completely different story."
Davey's mum, Melanie Lessels, said: "Davey arrived at the scene and took charge. He went into the water to get the dinghy and, in line with his recent STCW training, organised the rescue and got Mr John into the dinghy.
"As a young man of 17 working on a training placement with South West Marine Training, we are very proud of his initiative."
The rescue also involved the Berry Head coastguard, Torbay RNLI inshore lifeboat and the harbour pilot boat.