RETIRED Kennie Murray had a lucky escape when he fell into a flooded sidestream during a fishing session.
It is the second case in weeks after angler Mike Drewett was saved by a jogger after falling into the River Tone in Somerset.
Hove, East Sussex-based Kennie (pictured above) was fishing a sidestream or the River Adur run by Henfield AS in West Sussex.
The 70-year-old angler told Angler’s Mail: “My seat gave away in the boggy ground and I somehow slipped backwards into about 7 feet of water.
“I was wearing a full thermal suit and this became waterlogged and started to drag me down in the strong current.
“There was a moment when I said ‘game over’ but I actually shouted ‘I am not ready to go yet’… and managed, God-knows how, to get to the side. I clung on to some nettles and gradually worked my way to a wooden footbridge where I held onto a support and felt a firm bottom underneath me.
“I’m 5 ft 10 in. and the water was about 5 ft and I said to myself I am not going to die. I then suddenly realised I am miles from anywhere and nobody is likely to come along and I couldn’t get out because of the weight of my clothing.
“Luckily my mobile phone was in my fishing bag and I managed to grab my rod by the reel-end and hook my bag towards me with the reel handle.
“I got the phone and, desperately not trying to drop it in the water, called 999 and was then cut off twice as the emergency services were trying to locate my position.
“But due to the brilliance of the operator I was found by two young police officers who pulled me out and probably saved my life.
“I was suffering from hypothermia and had a head injury where I hit my head on the bridge trying to pull myself out and was taken to the hospital where my distraught partner Hayley met me. I think I must have been up to my neck in fast flowing water for over 30 minutes.
“Ironically I wrote a letter to Angler’s Mail a few years back about safety when winter river fishing after a member of Hassocks DAC tragically drowned on the same stretch of river I was fishing.
“It was the scariest moment in my 60 years of being a fisherman and certainly made me think about safety on the bank. One lapse of concentration and I nearly paid the ultimate cost,” concluded Kennie.
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