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Matt is a river rescue hero
9:46am Tuesday 24th September 2013 in News
A HEROIC ground worker who broke off from celebrating his birthday to wade into the River Parrett and rescue a pensioner said “instinct took over”.
Matt Godbeer, 26, was in the River Parrett Inn in Bridgwater town centre when he spotted a 69-year-old man struggling in the muddy water.
Married dad-of-five Matt told the Mercury: “I ran all the way from the pub up to the library, but by the time I got to the town bridge he was on his back in the water.
“When I got to him he was face down and not moving.”
Matt jumped about 12ft into the cold river to reach the man as stunned onlookers called the emergency services.
He said: “When I picked him up at first I dragged him to the side.
“I kept talking to him to make sure he was awake, checking for signs of hypothermia because it was quite cold in the water, so I pulled him out as much as I could and pulled him to safety.”
Police arrived first at the scene, followed shortly before 5pm by specialist fire crews who lifted the pair from the river with harnesses and lines before leaving them in the care of paramedics.
Matt, who was left with only a bruised knee, said his loved ones were “shocked” when he told them of the drama which unfolded off Salmon Parade last week.
However, Matt, who has fished for elvers since he was a boy in Bridgwater, remained humble.
He said: “I know how the river works – I’ve fished the river for many years. I don’t know how I ran that fast.
“Afterwards, my friends were saying ‘Matt, you’ve just saved someone’s life’.
“I didn’t think anything of it at the time, but now I do.
“If I was a minute later he might not be around any more.”
Matt’s brother-in-law, Matthew Prowse, who witnessed the drama, said: “He has a big family who could have lost him, the silly blighter, but that’s him.”
The man who was saved is not thought to have suffered serious injury as a result of the incident.
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