Repressed from Get Surrey author Becky Middleton 28.02.13
A RESCUER has spoken of the moment he saw a young rower struggling in the River Thames after a boat capsized, and helped to launch an operation to save him from the water.
Ian Dow, who lives in Thames Street, Sunbury, was out in his car on Thursday last week (February 21) when he spotted two halves of a boat drifting down river from the direction of Sunbury weir.
He immediately pulled over to the side of Thames Street, near George Wilson & Sons Ltd boat builders, and joined a young woman on the riverbank who dialled 999.
A group of eight Year 9 rowers from St George’s College in Addlestone had got into difficulty while trying to make a turn near Sunbury weir at the end of a training session.
Mr Dow, 71, said: “The first thing I saw was what looked like a large fender drifting down the river. Then I realised it was a section of the boat.
“I stopped the car and ran to the edge of the river. We shouted to the boy to let him know we had seen him. It was dark by then.”
Mr Dow said the teenager climbed onto a pontoon moored in the river and was picked up by a resident in a small boat before being taken to the man’s home to be checked by paramedics from South East Coast Ambulance Service.
The paramedics had received a call at 5.20pm to go to The Weir Hotel in Waterside Drive, Walton, amid reports that a boy was hanging onto Sunbury weir.
He was taken to St Peter’s Hospital with non-life threatening injuries after becoming submerged.
A college spokesman said a total of eight boys and a teacher from St George’s were involved in the incident and the rest of the group had managed to get out of the river via a nearby pontoon.
The spokesman added that one of the boys was swept over the weir and 200-300m down the river before he managed to reach a pontoon