Dad's euphoria at amazing survival of baby rescued from water at Watchet harbour
The father of a six-month-old baby blown off a harbour wall in his pushchair described the “pure euphoria” of discovering his son had miraculously survived.
Martyn Stevens, 35, was at home while his partner Kate Cooper, 34, took their son Sam for a walk around the local marina in Watchet, Somerset, on Sunday.
But a sudden gust of wind swept the buggy off the sea wall and Sam plunged face-down into 12 feet of icy water while still strapped in, and remained submerged for ten minutes.
Dockmaster George Reeder, 63, heard the frantic screams for help and dived into the water to rescue the tot.
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Yesterday, as Sam made a full recovery in hospital, his father Mr Stevens told how he sprinted to the scene after hearing a commotion from the nearby harbour.
He said: “I only live about 500 metres up the road. I heard sirens, but didn’t really put two and two together. Then I heard shouting and I looked up the road to see what the noise was and saw my friend Ben, who looked absolutely distraught and just shouted at me, ‘It’s your baby, it’s your baby’.
“I just went flying down the road to the marina. I don’t know what was going through my mind. It was all going so quick, but really slowly at the same time. When I got there, Sam was there on the ground and I was told he had been sick. I heard him crying and saw him breathing.
"It was the best thing in the world, which is pretty much the opposite to what most parents would normally want. That feeling you have when you have your first kid is pretty amazing, but to see them die and come back to life is awesome – you can’t explain that.”
The dramatic rescue happened at around 8am on Sunday. Kate, a caterer who is currently on maternity leave, took Sam for a walk with their two dogs.
A sudden gust of wind swept the pushchair into the 12ft-deep water and dockmaster Mr Reeder was alerted by the mum screaming, “My baby! My baby has gone in the water!”
He leapt into the water and pulled the buggy back to the harbour wall, where bystanders and coastguards attached ropes and pulled it to safety.
Tanya Allen, 43, a neighbour of Mr Stevens and Kate, then performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation on Sam until emergency crews arrived. An air ambulance flew him to nearby Musgrove Park Hospital in Taunton.
Mr Stevens, a recycling technician, arrived moments after Sam was safely pulled back onto the harbourside. Yesterday, he praised Mr Reeder, Tanya and the emergency service crews who saved his son’s life.
He said: “I can’t stress how amazing George was, and Tanya as well. They were both amazing. The first responder is a work colleague. He got him warm and did whatever he needed to, and our friend Tanya, who only lives a few doors down, had performed CPR on him.
“Police were there and so was the ambulance, then an air ambulance arrived. I don’t know how he landed. When I spoke to the co-pilot, he said it was the windiest he had ever flown in – conditions were terrible.
“They flew Sam straight to Musgrove Park Hospital.”
Mr Stevens added that Sam had astounded doctors with how well he had recovered, and that they expected him home in the next few days.
He said: “I was blown away. I was still in a panic, but you have to stay positive.
“That was when they got his temperature back to normal. When he was in hospital he recovered in about two to three hours. It was amazing.”
Mr Stevens added: “He is brilliant, almost back to full recovery, which is pretty amazing to imagine.
“All the doctors and nurses said he is doing fantastic. They have all been brilliant on all levels. I’m feeling brilliant right now, overwhelmed. It’s pure euphoria. He is doing so well. Kate is there with him and I think he is more annoyed at having a load of tubes in him and not being able to breastfeed than being actually ill.”
Dockmaster Mr Reeder, who has worked at the marina for 11 years, estimated that Sam was in the water for about ten minutes.
He said: “The wind caught the buggy and it ended up in the harbour.
“I heard the commotion and jumped on the bike to cycle over. When I got there the mum was screaming and I saw the buggy floating. The tide was going out and the current was strong. It was slowly floating away, being swept out to sea. I didn’t have time to think. I just jumped in, turned the buggy over and pulled it back to the edge of the quay.
“Then somebody threw a rope down. I tied it on and they lifted it out.
“A woman on the quayside began giving the child CPR and revived it. The baby didn’t make a sound. It was totally silent. I can’t believe it survived.
“I was just in the right place at the right time.”