A MAN who got stuck in a reservoir sluice was rescued by firefighters who happened to be passing by on a training exercise.
John Hepinstall, aged 67, from South Hiendley near Barnsley, got trapped in waist-high water at Dovestones Reservoir, Saddleworth, Greater Manchester, after his border collie Cassie became stuck.
He and his wife Susan had travelled over from their home to go for a walk when the incident happened.
Luckily the Blue Watch crew from Greater Manchester Fire Service’s Mossley Fire Station were on their way to Dovestones for a water rescue training session when the incident happened.
John said: “I couldn’t believe it when they turned up by chance. “I was sliding down and the only thing stopping me from going into the reservoir was a sod of grass I was holding on to.
“It was good luck, but I can’t thank them enough.
“It only hit me and my wife afterwards how lucky we were that people with right abilities to get me out came across me.”
Watch manager Alan Hall said: “As we pulled up, a woman came running over to us and told us her husband was stuck in the sluice trying to rescue their dog.
“He was up to his waist in water and couldn’t get out.
“It’s an overflow sluice and he could’ve gone into the reservoir at any moment.
“One of the firefighters got into the line rescue harness and went down into the sluice to stabilise him.
“We then quickly got them both out. The crew did brilliantly.”
John was uninjured and Cassie, aged three, also escaped unharmed.
Afterwards the crews continued their training. Coun David Acton, who is the chairman of Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Authority, said: “The coincidence of this is stark and shows exactly why our crews go to these key locations to do realistic training.
“The warmer weather often means people will try out new locations for walks or go into the water when they might not normally do so.”
Coun Acton warned: “Please be careful if you are going further afield to enjoy the warmer weather and never, under any circumstances, go into the water.”