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Ian Barton saves wife Jean from drowning in canal
Ian Barton with his wife, Jean, who he rescued after she fell into a canal while on a narrow boat holiday
A PENSIONER has told how her brave husband saved her life when she fell 15 feet into a canal and lay unconscious face down in the water.
Jean Barton, 68, of Dunnington, near York, was enjoying a narrowboating holiday with her husband, Ian, and had been operating a lock gate when she slipped and fell in the water.
“I remember falling and a splash, and the next thing I knew I was waking up in hospital,” she said.
“I don’t think I would be here now if it hadn’t been for Ian and another chap who helped him rescue me. To me, it was very brave.”
Mr Barton, 72, said he was navigating the boat through the lock when he heard his wife cry out and saw her fall through the air.
He said he grabbed a lifebelt and threw it into the water near his wife. Then he lowered himself in to avoid the shock of jumping straight in, did front crawl to reach her and then pulled her face out of the water and held her vertically.
At this point, he heard a bang and saw that a passerby had jumped on to the roof of his boat to help get them both out of the water.
The man helped haul Mr Barton out and then they both pulled Mrs Barton out with a rope. Mr Barton said they laid her on the deck, put her in the recovery position and thumped her on the back, ejecting some water from her mouth.
Paramedics arrived and took Mrs Barton to hospital for treatment. Mr Barton was trying to give details of his wife at the reception desk, when he felt his heart beating strangely.
Tests subsequently showed he had suffered a minor heart attack caused by the stress of the rescue exacerbating a pre-existing unknown problem with an artery, and he was given an angioplasty procedure.
While his wife had recovered well, a shadow had been detected through X-rays on a lung which may have been caused by water entering it, but this had fortunately now disappeared.
The couple said the incident had happened on a canal in Birmingham, and they had now moored their craft on the Ouse at Fulford for the winter.
Mr Barton said they planned to go cruising again next summer but his wife would always wear an inflatable lifejacket whenever she was working on the locks.
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