Rescue drama after Portsmouth pier plunge

073061-3_pmo_piers  26/07/07  (IH)''The Victoria pier in Old Portsmouth'PICTURE: IAN HARGREAVES  (073061-3)
073061-3_pmo_piers 26/07/07 (IH)''The Victoria pier in Old Portsmouth'PICTURE: IAN HARGREAVES (073061-3)
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RESCUERS saved an elderly man’s life after he plunged into the sea near the Hot Walls in Portsmouth today.

One passer-by waded into the cold water to drag the man to shore, where members of the public gave him resucitation.

The man was taken to the Queen Alexandra Hospital. Police said he had survived the ordeal.

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 saying “I need a phone, someone needs to dial 999, someone has just jumped into the pier.”

‘So I dialled 999 and I was on the phone to the coastguard and relayed what was going on.

‘The man who come over to me then stripped off and waded through the water, grabbed the man and hauled him onto the beach.

‘I kept my distance while others put him in the recovery position and tried to resuscitate him.

‘Everyone was very practical and I really hope everything turns out for the best for the guy.’

Kate Preston, 40, landlady of The Wellington pub, in High Street, Old Portsmouth, said: ‘I saw the police and ambulance turn up but I didn’t think anything serious had happened because quite often the emergency services are down here doing exercises.

‘The last time I saw anything down here though was when someone had fallen off a ferry.

‘I really feel for the man’s family.’

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency confirmed it received a call just before 11am today that a person had fallen into the water near Victoria Pier, at Sallyport, Old Portsmouth.

A spokesman for the MCA said: ‘We can confirm someone was in the water by Victoria Pier.

‘The person is out of the water and the ambulance and police were there.

‘The coastguard got the call at 10.59am, but as they are out of the water we did not need to attend.’

# Were you one of the rescuers? Ring news editor Graeme Patfield on 023 9262 2118