The father of a six-month-old baby blown off a harbour wall in his pushchair today 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.
But a sudden gust of wind swept the buggy off the sea wall and Sam plunged face-down into 12ft off icy water while still strapped in and remained submerged for ten minutes.
Luckily heroic dockmaster George Reeder, 63, heard Kate’s frantic screams for help and dived into the water to rescue the tot.
Yesterday – as Sam made a full recovery in hospital – dad Martyn told how he sprinted to the scene after hearing a commotion from the nearby harbour.
He said: “I only live about 500m 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 while 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 George 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 Martyn and Kate – then performed CPR on Sam until emergency crews arrived and an air ambulance flew him to nearby Musgrove Park Hospital, in Taunton.
Panic-stricken dad Martyn, a recycling technician, arrived moments after Sam was safely pulled back onto the harbourside.
Yesterday he praised George, Tanya and the emergency service crews who saved his son’s life.
Martyn said: “I can’t stress how amazing George was, and Tanya as well, they were both amazing.
“The first responser 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 him straight to Musgrove Park Hospital in Taunton.”
Martyn 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 and when he was in hospital he recovered in about two to three hours. It was amazing.
“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 breast feed than being actually ill.”
Dockmaster George, who has worked at the marina for 11 years, estimated that Sam was in the water for 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.”