Heroic dad dives in to rescue man from canal

John James with his son Callum
John James with his son Callum

An heroic dad from Leighton Buzzard jumped to the rescue after a boater fell unconscious into the Grand Union Canal.

John James, 35, was out with son Callum on the evening of Friday, October 16, enjoying a stroll along the canal on their way to the supermarket.

But that all changed as they saw boater Alan Partridge lose his footing while loading cargo on to his vessel.

As Mr Partridge slipped, he hit his head on the side of the boat and plunged into the water unconscious. “It happened about 100 yards in front of us,” said Mr James. “I automatically scooped my son in my arms and placed him by the side of the boat.”

Five-year-old Callum then watched as his dad dived into the canal to rescue Mr Partridge.

“Basically, I got in there and managed to get hold of him and shouted for help.”

As Mr James pulled the injured man to the water’s edge, a passer-by came to help drag him on to dry land. Mr James then performed mouth-to-mouth resuscitation until an ambulance arrived.

Mr James said: “I suppose to be honest it was just adrenaline and impulse, I got into the water to help him. Everyone’s been giving praise and asking ‘Why did you do it?’. But, you don’t really think about it at the time.”

And nobody has been more proud than son Callum. “He keeps saying, ‘Daddy my hero’ and, ‘Is Alan alright?’ because he’s only five,” said Mr James.

An East of England Ambulance spokesman said: “We were called to an incident on Leighton Road, Leighton Buzzard at 6.14pm on Friday, October 16.

An ambulance and an ambulance officer attended to help a man in his 60s who had fallen into the river.

“He was taken to Luton and Dunstable Hospital for further care.”