A SHOCKED grandad was dramatically rescued in a ‘lucky escape’ after plunging into a chilly Sheffield canal as he cycled along the towpath.
Anthony Boyes, 56, hit an ‘overgrown hole’ and then tumbled, with his bike into the Sheffield & Tinsley Canal, off Bacon Lane, Attercliffe.
A nearby fisherman and cyclist, who spotted him struggling in the canal raced to his rescue and hauled him out of the water - but Anthony believes he could have died without their help.
Anthony, of Arbourthorne, said: “My foot went into the hole and I just went into the canal.
“The water must have been 9ft deep. If it wasn’t for the two passers-by, I would have drowned.
“It was that cold I could hardly breathe, it just happened so quickly.
“The two men saw me, got hold of me and dragged me out. I have been to the hospital because my leg is all bruised - but it could have been a lot worse.
“I realised afterwards that I had a lucky escape.
“I’m never going back on the canal with my bicycle. I still wake up at night thinking about what happened, it is going through my mind all the time.”
Anthony’s plunge came within a few days of a 39-year-old man drowning in a branch of the navigation off Meadowbank Road, Rotherham, after leaving home to walk his dogs.
Lesley, Anthony’s wife, said: “Nobody would have known what happened had those two men not been there.
“We are grateful to them, it could have been a disaster because Anthony said he could not get out.
“It is a blessing.”
Anthony is calling for new safety measures to be installed at the side of the canal, part of the Sheffield & South Yorkshire Navigation.
The former blacksmith, who was heading for a health walk when he fell in, said: “I think the holes should be blocked up and filled in.
“I spoke to a lock keeper who told me to get in touch with the authorities because it wants sorting straight away.
“It is an accident waiting to happen.
“What if somebody had a child on the back of the bike and they all fell in?
“It is frightening.”
A spokesman for the Canal and River Trust, which has taken over management of the navigation from British Waterways, said: “We’re very sorry to hear of Mr Boyes’s accident on the canal and it is something we’re taking very seriously.
“We haven’t received any formal notification of the incident. We would very much like to speak to Mr Boyes to find out exactly what happened so that we can investigate and take appropriate action.”