Lifesaving duo rescued woman after she fell in canal

Cyclist Helen Wheeldon with her boyfriend Steve Birkinshaw Picture ref: AB267a0716
Cyclist Helen Wheeldon with her boyfriend Steve Birkinshaw Picture ref: AB267a0716

Quick-thinking heroes saved the life of a cyclist in a dramatic water rescue after she fell into a canal.

Helen Wheeldon was cycling with her partner Steve Birkinshaw along a tow-path in Horbury before her bike hit a pothole.

The impact jolted the 43-year-old, who is not a confident swimmer, off her bike and flung her into, and under, the water in the canal near Horbury Bridge on July 1.

But she was saved after Mr Birkinshaw, 59, and a mystery man , who was just passing, managed to pull her from the water using a dog lead.

Miss Wheeldon, from Horbury, said: “If it wasn’t for Steve and the other man I definitely wouldn’t be here. I hit a pothole then the next thing I knew I was in the water, I had gone underneath and I remember touching the bottom.

“I was too far from the bank to reach it when I came to the surface and I was panicking.”

After Miss Wheeldon fell into the water, Mr Birkinshaw first tried to rescue her using a bike lock.

Mr Birkinshaw said: “She was just too slippy to pull out with my hands, so I used the bike lock to put more body weight behind it but I couldn’t get her out.”

That was when he called the emergency services, who arrived within 10 minutes armed with a winch.

But just minutes before they got there, a man walking his dog heard Miss Wheeldon’s cries.

He used the dog’s lead to wrap around her and together the pair pulled her out of the canal.

Miss Wheeldon added: “It couldn’t have been done without him, it needed both of them and I want to say thank you. I was in shock afterwards and couldn’t believe that I had fallen it.”

The couple are now hoping to learn the identity of the man so they can thank him.