ANGLER’S MAIL columnist Michael Salisbury and a pal have helped save a woman from drowning in his favourite park lake.
Carp fishing coach Mike was back in his native Tyne and Wear when the drama unfolded at day ticket Leazes Park, next to Newcastle United FC’s St. James’ Park and close to the Royal Victoria Infirmary.
Shoeburyness, Essex-based Michael explained: “I was born in Newcastle and lived there until I was nine, when my family relocated to Oxfordshire.
“All of my family still live in Newcastle, so I go up there two or three times a year to visit them. I still have a huge affinity with Leazes Park, as it’s the place where my uncle taught me to fish.
“I had pretty much zero sleep on the first night of the 48-hour session, as the fishing really ‘kicked off’ and I landed five commons of up to 17 lb.
“I wearily got through the day, and by Tuesday evening I was joined by my good mate Mark Milne.
“Shortly after his arrival, I banked my best-ever fish from Leazes, a mint common carp of 25 lb 9 oz. I was absolutely delighted.
“A few more followed, and at 5am I found myself into yet another fish. The commotion caught the attention of four young gentlemen who had been on a bit of a ‘session’. They stumbled over to watch me bring it in, then asked if they could ‘kill it’.
“Mark and I explained that this was catch-and-release fishing, but they decided to remain and chat to us for some considerable time.
“They were a motley crew, to say the least. One looked like professional fighter Conor McGregor and another like footballer Jack Colback.
“All was fairly jovial until ‘Conor’ and ‘Jack’ decided that having a swim in the lake would be a good idea.
“Despite us advising against it, they went in three times, wiping out all of Mark’s lines in the process.”
Carp fishing coach to the rescue
Mike continued: “Later on I noticed a young woman standing by the lake, dressed in hospital gowns and compression socks.
“A few members of the public had gone over to speak to her, apparently trying to dissuade her from getting into the lake.
“They said that she had just walked out of the high-dependency unit at the hospital across the road, and they had called emergency services. After an hour, the young lady decided she wanted to get in the water.
“One man tried to stop her, but as she looked about 20 stone, she simply pulled him in with her. He got straight out, but she proceeded to swim out into the lake.
“Then somebody else called the emergency services. In the meantime I asked Mark to fetch one of the lifebuoy rings from the clubhouse.
“She was way out of range, as she neared the island, and appeared to be struggling to stay afloat.
“Just as Mark got the club’s rowing boat out, Police arrived on the scene, but there wasn’t any time to hang around, as the lady was struggling to keep her head above water.
“We decided to jump in the boat and attempt a rescue, as she was now face down in the water.
“Mark got us out there at breakneck speed, and once we reached her, I turned her over and found her semi-conscious.
“I grabbed hold of the gown that she was wearing with one hand and supported her head with the other, whilst Mark rowed us back to the jetty.
“Police then assisted with getting her out of the lake, and she was soon stretchered away in an ambulance,” concluded the 44-year-old who works as a carp fishing coach and general angling tutor.
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