Teenagers rescue man from icy waters of Leicester canal
Two teenagers saved a man's life after he had fallen into a canal and was struggling to keep his head above freezing water.
Connor Allen, 17, and his friend Billy Rewcastle, 18, were walking past the Grand Union Canal at about 9.15pm on Sunday when they heard a faint cry for help coming from beneath a bridge in Abbey Park Road, Leicester.
They leaned over the railings and saw a man scrambling to keep his head above the water below.
Connor, from New Parks, said: "We both ran over to the bridge and saw him struggling in the canal.
"He was shouting but he couldn't scream loud enough – it was lucky we heard him."
Billy said: "It was more like a whisper than a shout. It was quite dark and he was trying to hold himself up, but he was shaking and couldn't quite keep his head above the water."
When they got to the canal bank they noticed the man had injured his hands trying to claw himself out of the icy water.
They grabbed an arm each but struggled to lift the shivering man.
Billy, who lives near Abbey Park, said: "In the end, I had to grab one hand while Connor held on to me and we levered him on to the bank.
"He was quite heavy because he was wet and he had a big black coat on. He looked blue and we knew we had to do something to warm him up."
Once the man had been heaved out of the canal, Connor and Billy huddled round him to keep him warm while they called the emergency services.
"I tried to make him do star jumps as well," said Billy.
"But I think he just wanted a cigarette – he couldn't really speak and seemed in shock. He was freezing."
Police and paramedics arrived a short time later and treated the man at the scene before taking him to Leicester Royal Infirmary.
Connor said: "I think he said he stumbled as he walking under the bridge – it was near one of the locks.
"I can't imagine how he felt, my hands were so cold from just pulling him out and I was shaking.
"His teeth were chattering – he must have been absolutely freezing."
Police, who praised the teenagers, said the man had been struggling to get out of the canal for about half an hour, injuring his hands in the process, before the two friends heard his calls.
A spokeswoman said: "These two people showed great bravery and quick thinking in helping this man.
"Because of their actions, he was able to get out of the water and to hospital for treatment.
"Their help ultimately saved his life so they should be extremely proud of what they did."