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Heathfield man saves drowning woman

Date
12/04/2009
What Happened
Person overboard/swept away/fell in the water
What Caused
Human factor
Casualty type/Qty
Casualty
Gender
Female
Causal Factors
Lack of awareness of hazards/obstacles
Injury Details
N/A
Outcome
Near miss
Alcohol/Drugs
Alcohol

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Description of Incident
A HEATHFIELD man has risked life and limb to rescue a drowning woman in Eastbourne.

Lewis Saunders, of Mulberry Way, was leaving Atlantis night club in the early hours of Sunday morning when he saw a woman fall off the edge of Eastbourne pier.

"I was walking out of the door right at the end of the pier and just saw a young lady go over the edge. The club security and a few others also saw, but nobody moved to do anything so I just threw myself in.

"I just acted on instinct," he said.

Mr Saunders, 27, described how he took hold of the woman, who appeared to have stopped breathing and tried to resuscitate her while making sure they were not drawn out to sea.

"Eventually I got her to the edge of the pier and waited for the life boats to come and pick us up," he said.

"We had drifted out a bit while I had hold of her so I pulled us back in where we held onto the pier."

Eastbourne Royal National Lifeboat Institute confirmed that a lifeboat had been called out to the pier at 3.05am on Sunday morning to rescue to people clinging to the steel supports.

Both Mr Saunders and the young woman were rushed to Eastbourne Hospital where he was treated for hypothermia before being released later on Sunday.

"The water was unbelievably cold," he said.

"The young woman was kept in hospital longer than I was so I haven't seen or spoken to her since."

Mr Saunders was in Eastbourne with a couple of friends for the night and he explained how one friend had seen him jump in.

The friend has then gone inside to tell the others, but they had thought it was a joke.

"My friends didn't believe her and so just carried on dancing," he said.

Alongside the cold Mr Saunders, who works as a land and building surveyor, also suffered a back strain, but admits he was lucky not to receive anything worse.

"The lifeboat men were not very happy and told me it was easier for them to pull one person out of the water than two," said Mr Saunders.

"All I said to them was you may not have been taking any people out if I hadn't jumped in."
Supporting Information
http://www.thisissussex.co.uk/Heathfield-man-saves-drowning-woman/story-12588747-detail/story.html

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