Page last updated at 12:42 GMT, Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Instructor's 'real life' water rescue in lunch break

Britannia Bridge
The rescue team were training near the Britannia bridge on the strait

An instructor in water rescues has told how he had to use his skills in a real-life emergency in his lunch hour.

Dan Graham was training three Grampian fire service staff in the Menai Strait when a man fell 150ft (45m) from the Britannia Bridge and called for help.

Mr Graham, 26, from Rescue 3 (UK), which trains people in water rescue skills, set off with his three pupils.

He said: "It was certainly unexpected - we got our kit back on and headed down stream." The man was taken to hospital.

Based at the National White Water Centre, Bala, Mr Graham and colleague Matt McLay were conducting the second day of a course in swift water rescue training when the 35-year-old man fell into the water between the north Wales mainland and Anglesey on Saturday.

The RNLI launched its new Beaumaris lifeboat for the first time, but Mr Graham and his team were the first to reach him.

Helicopter

He said: "We were just on our lunch break. We were just getting our flasks out and heard this big splash and people on the bridge waving and shouting. We saw that it wasn't just kids messing around."

Having decided it was genuine emergency, Mr Graham put out in the rescue vessel with his Scottish fire crew and approached the man, who was conscious and calling for help.

He said: "I had three students with me. I took over the driving - we hadn't taught about casualty pick ups, that was the session in the afternoon.

"They pulled him in and stared doing their normal first aid type stuff. I was on the radio to the coastguard."

Mr Graham said he beached the boat and while he was trying to arrange for an ambulance to pick up the man, the RAF rescue helicopter came on the scene and the casualty was flown to hospital.

'Real-life situation'

He said: "As a scenario, it illustrates why we do what we do.

"It was very much a real-life situation in the middle of a class that gave the guys we were teaching a real picture of why we push them so hard and have such high standards.

"You need to have the boat very close to a casualty to get someone in and you need to have all the [emergency]agencies working together."



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SEE ALSO
Rescue after plunge from bridge
16 Jan 10 |  North West Wales

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