‘What would Superman do?’ - mystery river rescue hero revealed

Al Baker described the moment he found a woman in the River Sid. Picture: Clarissa Place

Al Baker described the moment he found a woman in the River Sid. Picture: Clarissa Place - Credit: Archant

A Sidmouth man has come forward after police put out an appeal to find a man who rescued a woman from River Sid.

The family of Al Baker, who has learning difficulties, says it was the 35-year-old who helped rescue an elderly woman from icy water in The Byes.

Police launched an appeal to thank the man whose 'quick thinking' led to the lady being found alive and taken to hospital.

Speaking to the Herald, superhero fan Mr Baker said after finding the woman he thought 'what would Superman do?' and called out to nearby joggers to help.

The Sidmouth resident was on his way to work through the beauty spot at around 7.20am on Monday (August 12).

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Mr Baker said: "I was walking down by the river in the Byes. I heard this voice say 'help me, help me'. I was looking around to see where the voice was coming from and I saw a lady and she was lying down in the river. I saw this lady jogging up the road. I was a bit panicky, I said 'please can you help me?' and then we got her out of the river.

"She (the lady) said she was okay. After a while her eyes began to close and she was shaking. The other lady was talking to her, her eyes were closing and she was shaking. Sometimes she was responsive and sometimes she wasn't.

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"I like to watch superhero movies. When I was going into the river I was thinking 'what would superman do?'."

Mr Baker, who volunteers as a dog walker, at a Sidmouth care home and at Budleigh Salterton Wellbeing Hub, then went on to work, where he spent the day in wet shoes and socks.

He added: "I was wondering how the lady was doing."

His mum Jean Thompson said initially she had not realised the extent of his actions.

She said: "He came in yesterday afternoon and said a funny thing happened this morning. I helped someone, a lady in the river. He did not explain and I did not think anything of it until my brother-in-law said Al is a local hero. He's all over Facebook.

"He has learning difficulties and he jumped in the river. I did not know that until today (Tuesday). It's such a massive thing that he has done.

"I did not even know he had been in the water. I did not realise the lady was in the water until late last night. I'm incredibly proud.

"Al told me that 'it is nice to be important but it's more important to be nice'."

A police spokesman said the mysterious rescuer had flagged down other runners to help him pull the lady from the water.

The woman was taken to Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital after showing signs of hypothermia.

A police spokesman said: "His quick thinking undoubtedly led to the elderly lady being found alive."

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