Mark Hopkins, 50, from Port Tennant, jumped fully clothed into the Old Prince of Wales dock, Swansea Marina, when the child plunged 6ft (1.8m) into the freezing water. He said the terrified boy pulled him under the water three or four times, and the temperature sapped his energy.
Fortunately, an onlooker threw them a life ring and pulled them to safety. The incident happened at around 17:00 BST on Saturday.
Mr Hopkins, a chef, said he was about to have a meal at a pub on the waterfront when he heard the boy’s mother screaming: “I could see the boy two feet under the water, I dropped my mobile phone and just dived in.”
“I cannot watch a kid drown, you’ve got to do something.”
Mr Hopkins’ heroics weren’t without reward however. Swansea City FC granted the St Thomas man a ticket to a game and some fine dining beforehand. A three course meal was made available for Hopkins and his family and he was taken aback by the gesture.
“It’s fantastic”, he said.
“But I don’t feel like a hero. To me it’s normal — if you see a kid in trouble — I wasn’t going to stand around. You have got to help. I’m no hero, I was just the first man on the scene.”
More details: www.watersafetymap.co.uk/map/details/218“Swansea Kilvey Hill” by www.flickr.com/photos/gwallter, license: creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0 – 19/08/2014