A MAN who was rescued from a reservoir sluice by
firefighters who happened to be there on a training exercise has
thanked the crew.
John Hepinstall, aged 67, got stuck in a sluice at Dovestones
Reservoir on Holmfirth Road, Saddleworth, at 10am on Wednesday,
He and his wife Susan had been over from their home in Barnsley
walking their three-year-old border collie Cassie when the dog got
stuck in a sluice and John went in after her.
However, John's luck was in that morning as the Blue Watch crew
from Mossley Fire Station were on their way to Doverstones for a
water rescue training session.
So the crew immediately went to John's aid.
He said: "I could not believe it when they turned up by chance. I
was sliding down and the only thing stopping me from going in was a
sod of grass that I was holding on to.
"It was good luck but I can't thank them enough.
"It only hit me and my wife afterwards how lucky we were that
people with right abilities to get me out came across me."
Watch Manager Alan Hall said: "We went to do water rescue training
and, as we pulled up, a woman came running over to us and told us
her husband was stuck in the sluice trying to rescue their
"We went over and he was up to his waist in water and couldn't get
"It's an overflow sluice and he could've gone into the reservoir at
any moment. One of the firefighters got into the line rescue
harness and went down into the sluice to stabilise him.
"We then quickly got the man and the dog out. The crew did
John was uninjured in his ordeal and Cassie was also injury-free
following the incident.
Despite having to deal with the real thing, the crews carried on
with their training once the couple and their dog were safely on
Councillor David Acton, Chairman of Greater Manchester Fire and
Rescue Authority, said: "The coincidence of this is stark and shows
exactly why our crews go to these key locations to do realistic
"The warmer weather often means people will try out new locations
for walks or go into the water when they might not normally do
"Please be careful if you are going further afield to enjoy the
warmer weather and never, under any circumstances, go into the
For more information on staying safe in the warmer weather and
around water, please go to /fire_safety_advice/seasonal_safety.aspx.