‘I could have drowned,’ says ‘snared’ swimmer

Left reeling: Lawrence King with his croc that got hooked by a fishing line in Sidmouth. Photo by Te

Left reeling: Lawrence King with his croc that got hooked by a fishing line in Sidmouth. Photo by Terry Ife ref shs 6694-37-13TI To order your copy of this photograph go to www.sidmouthherald.co.uk and click on myphotos24 - Credit: Archant

Bather, 66, gets caught on 20ft fishing line

A SHAKEN-UP swimmer feels he was lucky not to drown after becoming ‘snared’ by a 20ft fishing line – and says his plastic shoe saved him from serious injury.

Lawrence King, 66, was enjoying a routine dip in the sea off Sidmouth when he felt a mystery item wrap around his ankles under the water.

The line, with around eight sharp hooks, became tighter with every step the struggling bather made towards the shore.

Another beachgoer who noticed Lawrence’s distress had to help untangle him.

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“Panicking isn’t the word,” the Church Street resident told the Herald. “I was snared.”

Lawrence, who said the incident left him fearful of going back into the water, has warned others to be wary of what is lurking under the waves.

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He says the type of line that caused him bother, normally used to catch mackerel and not humans, is commonplace on the beach – but he does not blame fishermen.

“It was lucky it was me and not someone else,” said Lawrence.

“I was happily bathing up to shoulder height. It’s not unusual, especially in Sidmouth, to feel a bit of seaweed around your ankles. That is what I thought it was. Then I felt something around my left ankle and nearer I got to the beach, the shorter my stride became.”

Onlooker Gwendoline Odeluga spotted Lawrence and assisted him.

Lawrence added: “Gwendoline helped to untangle me.

“I wear Crocks and there was a huge hook embedded in the sole of my left foot.

“When I was released I saw everyone else on the beach wasn’t wearing footwear.

“The barbs on those hooks are not meant to come out. If I hadn’t had my plastic Crocks on I would have been taken to hospital.”

Lawrence gave the line to a fisherman who vowed to use it from his boat off the coast.

“For fishermen, if it’s [the line] broken there is nothing they can do about it,” he said.

“How much of that stuff is out there I don’t know. There is plenty of fishing line on the beach. My message to others is take care. When you are out of your depth in the water, you don’t know what’s under there. I was lucky.”

Esplanade resident Gwendoline, a a psychotherapist, said: “I saw he was having trouble so went over to help him.

“One hook was really deep in his shoe – if he had moved, he could have been badly hurt. He was really shocked by it.

“Some people are being careless – it could have been a child.”

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