A young 18-year-old man from Narbonne, accompanied by his father, did not hesitate to brave the cold by diving into the Robine canal, at the start of the week, to come to the aid of a 70-year-old visually impaired man who had fallen into the water. He was congratulated by the emergency services.
It looks like the “beautiful story” of the beginning of the year. Monday January 10 in the middle of the day, a father and his son are jogging along the Canal de la Robine, near the Victor-Hugo footbridge, when they suddenly hear passers-by shouting. They realize that a visually impaired 70-year-old man has fallen into the canal for some time and is struggling in the water, panicked and frozen.
The father then lies down on the quay, horizontally above the void, and somehow manages to pull the victim up to a ladder using his telescopic cane and a rope. . Disoriented and paralyzed, the disabled man succeeds in clinging to the rungs of the ladder, but under the weight of his soggy clothes and finding no support to climb up, cannot extricate himself from the water.
Listening only to his courage, the 18-year-old son then begins to undress before plunging shirtless into the canal to help the victim by all means to ascend, without success. After several minutes which seemed like hours, he finally succeeded in making him the short ladder with one leg to allow the man to find a first support. “It was long enough, I didn’t want to pull too hard so as not to dislocate his shoulder and my son was underneath and supporting him with his whole body. Finally, we managed to put it back up, very slowly, it was frozen“, relates Jean-Luc Albert, member of a well-known Narbonnais family.
“The police told me I was a hero”
“I could see him in the water shaking and help failing to come, so I didn’t hesitate to dive in, we couldn’t leave him like that. The water was cold, there was lots of mud and it didn’t smell very good, but it seemed like the best thing to do.“, adds his son Jérémie with a Quebec accent.
Once hoisted on the quay, the victim safe and sound, but deeply shocked and chattering of teeth, is finally taken care of by the municipal police before being evacuated to the hospital by the firefighters. Help that did not fail to salute the bravery of the young man, who did not take long to think before jumping into the water when the outside temperature did not exceed 8 degrees and that many spectators of all ages were present on the premises, without lending a helping hand.
“The police told me I was a hero because I had helped save a life and they all shook my hand. It warmed my heart, even though I didn’t do it for that. I just wanted to help this gentleman“, continues, with humility, the one who is about to set off again, this weekend, on the other side of the Atlantic to continue his engineering studies.
Father and son also hope that the victim has recovered from this very big fear. “We had no news, we hope he made it out, he seemed to have suffered a lot. We would also like to congratulate him for doing everything he could to help us in this rescue.. “Class all the way.