Brave Wigan teenagers praised for helping pensioner stranded in River Douglas

The area close to where the incident took place
The area close to where the incident took place

A group of brave Wigan teens have been praised for helping to rescue a pensioner after he jumped into the River Douglas.

At around 6.18pm on Sunday, paramedics were called by youngsters who reported a man in the water near Tesco off Central Park Way.

On arrival emergency responders found a man in his 70s suffering from serious breathing difficulties after being dragged from the water by supermarket security guards. He was rushed to Wigan Infirmary for treatment.

The six children, all aged between 13 and 17, discovered the pensioner when they heard screaming coming from the woods.

Fearing someone was in distress they ran towards the shouting, where they found a man in his 70s on a small island in the middle of the river.

Sophie Tarbuck, 13, said: “He said ‘help, please help’. One of my friends rang the ambulance and another ran to Tesco and banged on the windows until the security guards came and helped to pull him out. He was struggling to breathe and his legs were shaking.”

The man, who was reportedly very distressed, told his rescuers that he had jumped in the water because he was getting “no help” with his mental health.

“If it was my grandad I would expect someone to do the same,” added Sophie. “I would want someone to help him.

Sophie, along with her friends Regan Ellis, Paige Foley, Alex Blackburn, Lydia Walton and Anton Crompton, have been praised for their actions by the community - who heard about their bravery through Sophie’s gran Sheila on Facebook.