A FORMER ambulance man who helped to save a drowning man from a Mersey dock dubbed his 15-year-old nephew the true hero.
Tom Hawkes, a pupil of Wirral Grammar, and his uncle, Steve Smith, rescued the men from the docks at Twelve Quays, in Birkenhead.
Proud Mr Smith told the ECHO: “His sharp eyes spotted a man in the dock at 12 Quays, where a rescuer had been struggling for 10 minutes on his own trying to pull him out.
“None of the passing motorists had seen the drama and both the rescuer and the victim were close to exhaustion when fortunately Tom spotted them.”
Thanks to the eagle-eyed teenager, Mr Smith, who was on his way to work at 8am last Saturday morning, turned his car around and drove back to the water’s edge where the man, who had toppled into the water, was hanging on to the arms of another passer-by who had come to his aid.
Mr Smith said: “We were driving over the bridge when Tom said something was in the water by the docks.
“I kept driving, it hadn’t really registered, but then Tom said it again, so I turned the car around and we saw these guys struggling.
“From what I understand, he had been staggering about the dock, walking along the edge of the water, when he just fell in.
“The other guy must have seen this and run over.
"It was clear they needed help."
Mr Smith added: “[The other rescuer] didn’t go in the water, he was on the side hanging his arms down there, but there was no way for him to get out. He had gone down to the side and got hold of the victim and they were getting more and more desperate.
“What they needed was another pair of hands. The guy reckoned he had been there for about 10 minutes, he was absolutely exhausted.
“I thought, in another three or four minutes, it might well have ended in a tragedy.”
Mr Smith helped drag the man from the water, while quick-witted Tom grabbed a roll of carpet from the boot to keep the casualty warm until the ambulance arrived.
He added: “I am positive that Tom’s intervention saved a life. It’s a great feeling for a 15-year-old.”
A spokesperson for Merseyside fire service said: “We were called, but we were not required because a male had been rescued.”http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/liverpool...00252-27610619/