An injured kayaker was pulled to safety from a fast disappearing island after falling from his boat in a swollen river yesterday.
Firefighters from Buckfastleigh and local kayakers used lines and dry suits to rescue the kayaker who had scrambled to safety on the island in Hembury Woods in the River Dart around 1pm.
According to an eye witness, the man had started paddling at New Bridge but had fallen from his kayak and been swept down the river for more than a kilometre.
Having managed to pull himself on to the island, he was seen by a passing walker who called the emergency services.
“He was lucky to be spotted by a passing walker - if he'd gone another 200 metres downstream he would have gone beyond the end of the path and no-one would have seen him,” said the eyewitness.
“He was even luckier as this walker was able to call friends who were kayakers and could come quickly to help.
“One of the local kayakers was expert enough to cross the swollen river and attach a rope.”
The kayaker was taken to Torbay Hospital treatment with a leg injury and hypothermia.