Mother cannot thank her brave hero enough
PUBLISHED: 16:02 08 June 2007 | UPDATED: 22:51 28 May 2010
GRANDFATHER Alan Kinninmonth s heroic rescue of a mother and her two young sons from a Fenland drain has seen him forge a life-long bond with the family he saved. He swam to the rescue of Louise Coatsworth last Tuesday afternoon after they were involved i
GRANDFATHER Alan Kinninmonth's heroic rescue of a mother and her two young sons from a Fenland drain has seen him forge a life-long bond with the family he saved.
He swam to the rescue of Louise Coatsworth last Tuesday afternoon after they were involved in a two-vehicle collision, which saw both of them end up in the Sixteen Foot Drain at Bedlam Bridge, near March.
But he said: "I do not class myself as a hero, not at all. I just did what I hope anybody else would do.
"I was not going to let those children die - they deserve a chance in life."
Mrs Coatsworth added: "We have said we would like to stay in touch and I am sure he would like to see how the children grow up so that, when they get older, they will understand what he did for them that day."
Mr Kinninmonth, of Eastwood End, Wimblington, who has a 16-month-old grandson, was able to call upon his 20 years' training as a weapons engineer in the RAF to pull Mrs Coatsworth and her sons, two-year-old Oliver and one-year-old Daniel, from their Mercedes estate car after the collision.
They met up last Thursday at Mrs Coatsworth's home in St Ives and looked back at their horrifying ordeal.
Mr Kinninmonth, driver of the Ford Focus estate involved in the accident, said: "I remember the water rushing towards me, then the vehicle hit and I watched the water rise up the car's windscreen. I remember thinking 'I am not going to die here, not today, it's not right'.
"The windscreen buckled, and water began to rush in, but through luck or fate the driver's window had also broken and I was able to lever myself out into the water.
"I swam to the shallow water and, once I reached the bank, heard Louise saying: "My babies, my babies."
I then realised there was at least a mother and a child, or two children, in the other car.
"I pulled the car in towards the bank, the same time opening the tailgate."
Mrs Coatsworth said: "I was not worried about me. I thought the children were going to die and that was what I was most scared of, which was why I needed to shout to the man (Mr Kinninmonth) to help us because he had swum to the bank."
Mr Kinninmonth helped Mrs Coatsworth and her two children to the safety of the riverbank and then flagged down a passing motorist who called for an ambulance.
Mr Kinninmonth said: "My body temperature had fallen to 32 degrees and the paramedics were worried about hypothermia. But, apart from some bruising that will heal and the emotional impact of something like this, I am OK.
Mrs Coatsworth said: "He deserves a medal for getting us out and saving my little ones. It doesn't bear thinking about if he hadn't been there for us.