Lifesavers thanked by man they saved from drowning
WORKERS who came to the aid of a drowning man in Brixham harbour have been thanked for their dramatic rescue efforts.
Jake Hill and his boss Derek (pictured) managed to cut a tethered boat free before rowing it out to reach the man who had fallen into the water from his capsized tender in the inner harbour.
Lenn John, 69, was hanging on to his boat Taz by his fingertips by the time the pair reached him.
Lenn was unable to get on to the boat because his waders were filled with water.
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Now he has thanked his rescuers who saved him from the wintry waves.
Lenn, who lives with his wife Avril and their family at Shipmates restaurant, said: "I am completely indebted to them. Thank you so much."
Jake and Derek, from Brixham company AC Print, were working on a new sign at the Smugglers Story on the harbourside when they heard someone shouting for help in the harbour.
They first thought someone was mucking about until a passer-by said she could see someone hanging from a boat in the water.
Jake said: "His hands were on the edge of the boat but his head was very low in the water.
"We were trying to find a way of getting out to him and we went to the slipway but the boats were chained up.
"We were a bit stuck so I said to Derek go back and get a blade, so we cut the rope off and jumped in.
"At first I thought we would have to paddle by hand but then I found some tiny oars which we used to reach him as quickly as we could."
The duo were joined by another mystery rescuer, known only as Adam.
The alarm was raised at 12.26pm on Thursday.
The Berry Head coastguard, Torbay RNLI inshore lifeboat and the harbour pilot boat were involved in the rescue.
Jake said: "I knew the lifeboat was on its way but we couldn't wait.
"We jumped on to his boat and just grabbed him. His hands were all blue and I think he had been in the water for about 10 minutes.
"He said to us 'you won't lift me because I'm 17 stone and got waders on'.
"I said 'That's not happening', so together we got him out. it took a while and it was quite a heave but we got him out."
The pair also managed to retrieve his medication from the water that he needed for a heart condition before getting him safely back to shore were paramedics were waiting.
Jake said: "He said to us: 'I'm going to take you into the Blue Anchor for a few drinks after this', and I thought 'No, you're not'."
Lenn was checked over by paramedics before being allowed to rest at home.
Lenn and Avril have since thanked the rescuers and the lifeboat crew who came to his aid.
Lenn explained how he was working on his boat for several hours before jumping into his tender to return to shore.
But the tender capsized while he tried to free the rope from around the wheels on the bottom of the boat.
"I didn't realise the boat was slowly filling up and by the time I realised I was in the water.
"I should have been wearing a lifejacket and I hope this will serve as a warning to others.
"But I'm selling the boat now, if the price is right. I've been thinking about it for a while but this has put the lid on it," he said.