Boss tells of pier rescue drama

Picture Martin Bostock North Pier manager Dominic Herdman who helped with the rescue of a man who threw himself off the pier into the sea.
Picture Martin Bostock North Pier manager Dominic Herdman who helped with the rescue of a man who threw himself off the pier into the sea.
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An heroic pier manager who rushed to the aid of a drowning victim to save his life has been praised by Blackpool’s lifeboat crew.

Dominic Herdman, 47, was on duty at North Pier yesterday morning when a man, believed to be in his 20s, leapt from the structure.

Mr Herdman was joined by three members of his team who threw a life-ring to the man and talked to him until the RNLI crew arrived to pluck him from the water around 11.30am.

Mr Herdman reached the man when he was 10 yards away from the Pier and treading water.

He said: “We got a call over the radio telling us a young gentleman had decided to leap over the side of the Pier.

“It was high tide and the main risk for the gentleman was that he would get cold, so the main concern was to calm him down and made sure he held on to the life-ring.

“He was fairly safe and lucky it isn’t too cold at this time of year.

“Once he hit the water he started to shout for help.

“We told him that if he got hold of the ring we would look after him and reassured him everything would be OK.”

The staff alerted Blackpool Beach Patrol and called the Coastguard, who had a lifeboat crew on the scene within seven minutes.

Mr Herdman has been the manager of the Pier since February and says staff are trained to deal with demanding services like this.

He added: “I’m very proud of my team and everyone on the Pier who was able to spot this because of the training they’ve been given.

“All we did was reassure him he was OK while he was in the water and the whole incident was over in 10 minutes.”

Paul Parton, a spokesman for Blackpool Lifeboat, praised Mr Herdman and his staff.

He said: “They saved him because they kept him above the water before the boat arrived.

“They did a great job and called the emergency services to get help and did what they could do, which was fantastic.

“His chances of survival would have reduced if they weren’t there and they did everything they could to help him before we arrived.

“We launched a D-Class lifeboat to get him in and fortunately it was a calm sea.

“There was an ambulance waiting for him because he was suffering from shock and he was taken to Blackpool Victoria Hospital.”