Three fishing club members were hailed as heroes after saving a fellow angler from drowning early today.
The trio from Leyland were taking part in a fishing competition on the front at Blackpool when the man fell into the sea.
Peter Pilkington, Fred Howard and Alan Slater threw in lifebelts and battled for 45 minutes to keep a line on the man before a lifeboat crew managed to pluck him to safety.
“It was real heroic stuff,” said Susan Slater of Leyland and District Sea Angling Club.
“All three of them were brilliant. If they hadn’t done what they did the man would almost certainly have drowned.”
The drama happened just before 1am as 14 members of the Leyland club were taking part in a night angling competition near to Gynn Square in the resort.
It appears the unnamed man, who was also fishing with another group, lost his rod over the sea wall and climbed over to try and retrieve it.
“The slope is about 10 to 12 feet and very slippery,” said Susan, who helped the rescue by shining a torch on the man throughout his ordeal. “He must have slipped into the water.
“Suddenly we heard someone shouting ‘help, help, I’m drowning.’ The lads threw in two life buoys, but the man was getting weaker and weaker and couldn’t reach them.
“So Peter got as close as he could and threw another which landed close to him. He managed to get hold of that and very slowly they managed to pull him in.
“Peter wouldn’t let go of the rope for a full 45 minutes and he was exhausted by the time the lifeboat crew got the man out.
“There were some young lads there who wanted to tie ropes around their waist and go into the water to get him, but fortunately they were persuaded not to.
“It was a miracle that we had been near enough to hear his screams.
“I gather he was taken off to hospital and later the police told us he was safe and well. The emergency services were full of praise and said they had done everything exactly right.
“We’re all so proud of the lads for doing what they did. When they heard the cries for help they just went into autopilot.”