A HERO passer-by went into the sea to save the life of a pensioner who had fallen into the water.
Eyewitnesses described how the rescuer waded into the cold water after the elderly man tumbled from Victoria Pier, at the Hot Walls in Old Portsmouth.
The pensioner, who was wearing a suit and gloves, fell just before 11am yesterday morning.
After the rescuer pulled him from the water, members of a walking group used life-saving chest compressions to revive him.
Eyewitness Graham Newcombe, 57, of Kinross Crescent, Cosham, said: ‘I was walking with Portsmouth Healthy Walks when all of a sudden a man ran up to me from the pier telling me he needed someone to dial 999 because someone had just fallen into the sea.
‘So I made the call and was put through to the coastguard.’
Mr Newcombe, a former chartered accountant, then looked on as the man who witnessed the fall waded in.
He said: ‘He stripped off and made his way through the water. It was brave of him because it came right up to his chest.
‘He reached the end of the pier, where the man was floating, and hauled him back onto the beach.
‘I then kept my distance and relayed everything to the coastguard while others put him in the recovery position and resuscitated him.
‘Everyone was very practical.
‘I really hope everything turns out for the best for the guy.
Kate Preston, 40, landlady of The Wellington pub, in the High Street, saw emergency services rush to the scen.
‘I saw the police and ambulance turn up but I didn’t think anything serious had happened,’ she said.
‘Quite often they’re down here doing exercises. I really feel for the man’s family.’
The elderly man was taken by ambulance to Queen Alexandra Hospital, in Cosham, where he remained overnight.
He is not considered to be in a life-threatening condition.
Yesterday The Maritime and Coastguard Agency confirmed it received a call just before 11am reporting that a person had fallen into the water near Victoria Pier, at Sally Port, Old Portsmouth.
A spokesman for the MCA said: ‘We can confirm someone was in the water by Victoria Pier.
‘The person had been taken out of the water and the ambulance and police were there. The coastguard got the call at 10.59am, but as they were out of the water we did not need to attend.’
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Coastguards praise passers-by
COASTGUARDS yesterday praised the actions of rescuers who saved the life of the elderly man.
But they issued a warning to those who choose to put their own lives at risk for the sake of others.
A spokeswoman for Solent Coastguard, which dealt with the initial call for help from Portsmouth Healthy Walkers member Graham Newcombe, said: ‘It’s a natural reaction to help someone in desperate need.
‘But we have to guard against brave people who could ultimately put their lives at risk.
‘We could have potentially dealt with two people caught up in the water.
‘But without the help of the public saving this man’s life then we may have seen a different outcome yesterday. I commend them for that.’