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Father's relief after dramatic rescue of baby from harbour

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: January 29, 2013

  • Baby Sam Cooper-Stevens and below, his father Martyn Stevens

  • Harbourmaster George Reeder, who dived in to save Sam and, below, Tanya Allen who performed CPR on the baby

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The father of a baby who was strapped in a pushchair and blown off a harbour wall into the sea with a turning tide, has spoken of his relief – and expressed his gratitude to the man who saved the boy.

Martyn Stevens, 35, was at home while partner Kate Cooper, 34, took their six-month-old son Sam Cooper-Stevens for a walk around the marina in Watchet, Somerset on Sunday morning.

A sudden gust of wind whipped the buggy off the sea wall plunging Sam into 12ft of freezing water face-down with the tide dragging him away.

Harbourmaster George Reeder, 63, heard Ms Cooper's screams for help and dived in to rescue the child who was in the water for between five and ten minutes. Sam has now made a full recovery in hospital.

Yesterday Mr Stevens described how he sprinted to the scene after hearing a commotion. He said: "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."

Ms Cooper, a caterer, was walking Sam when events spiralled out of control and Mr Reeder came to the rescue.

He hauled the buggy to the harbour wall where bystanders and Coastguards helped by attaching ropes to pull it to safety. Sam was limp and a neighbour of the family, Tanya Allen, 43, a nurse, performed CPR until emergency crews arrived.

Sam was flown by air ambulance to nearby Musgrove Park Hospital, in Taunton.

Mr Stevens, a recycling technician, arrived moments after Sam was back on dry land.

He praised Mr Reeder, Ms Allen and the emergency service crews for saving his son's life.

He said: "I can't stress how amazing George was, and Tanya as well, they were both amazing. I'm feeling brilliant right now, overwhelmed. It's pure euphoria."

Mr Reeder has worked at the marina for 11 years and yesterday played down his heroic role.

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.

"I was just in the right place at the right time."

Read more from Exeter Express and Echo

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