oger Mellie says: Wed 2nd Sep 2009, 01:56 PM
I feel I must try and set the record straight on this incident to clear up all the inaccuracies contained within this story.
My best friend was the man who was fishing on the other side of the river and is the ONLY person who saw this whole incident unfold.
The deceased gentleman arrived on the river with his fishing gear and a large bottle of Strongbow. He sat on a steep part of the embankment and tried to set up his rod etc. Whilst doing this, some of his equipment fell in to the river and he waded in to retrieve it, as witnessed by two astonished United Utilities employees.
He then clambered back up the embankment and tried again to start fishing, when his equipment fell back in the river for a second time. He, again, waded in for his stuff and spoke to my friend who enquired as to his welfare. At this point, a small box of fishing tackle started floating away from him and so the man swam to the middle of the river to attempt to retrieve it. My friend enquired as to his welfare once more and the man replied that he was OK as he'd "been in three times already".
It was then, in a split second, that the man simply disappeared under the water. My friend ran to look for him but couldn't see him. He asked a chap who was stood on the bridge on Water Lane to phone the emergency services.
My friend is quite understandably distressed and was questioned for 2 hours last night by the Police and faces further questioning today.
The man did not fall in from the embankment.