Nottingham

Baby rescued from canal by ex-BBC political editor John Hess

John Hess
Image caption John Hess was the BBC's East Midlands political editor before retiring in 2015

A baby was dramatically rescued from a canal by a former BBC presenter when the infant's buggy fell into the water.

The child's grandparents became distracted when the pushchair's brake failed and it rolled into Nottingham Canal at about 10:00 BST on Tuesday.

Ex-political editor John Hess, 63, was cycling on the towpath and raced to help get the baby, who was strapped into the chair, out of the water.

He said it was like a "scene from a horror movie".

Mr Hess was cycling towards the BBC, in London Road, where he works part-time for the Sunday Politics programme following his retirement.

He abandoned his bike and ran as quick as he could.

'Slow motion'

The father of three, who lives in West Bridgford, reached into the water to help pull out the sodden pushchair, which was pressing the baby face down in the water.

The child's grandfather was already in the canal struggling with the weight of the buggy, along with all the additional weight.

Recalling the drama, Mr Hess said: "It was all in slow motion.

"It didn't matter how much I shouted at the grandmother; she didn't seem to be aware until late on, almost as the buggy slipped into the water.

"The baby and the buggy were in the water longer than anyone would want, we really did struggle to get it out.

"They are all very lucky, it could have been much worse."

Image caption John Hess re-enacted what happened for BBC East Midlands Today

Asked if he was a hero, Mr Hess replied that he was "fortunate" he had been at the scene at the right time.

BBC Radio Nottingham presenter Andy Whittaker witnessed what happened from London Road above the canal.

"There's a moment where this child is on the bank and nothing happens and I'm just thinking, 'please cry'," said Mr Whittaker.

"And then it does, and that's the best sound in the world... it was under the water for 20-25 seconds."

Mr Whittaker said he spoke to the couple afterwards.

"Can you imagine what they're feeling, what's going through their mind? Awful."

It is believed the couple sought medical attention following what happened.

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