Businessman to be honoured for bravery in US waterfall rescue

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A man is being hailed a hero from across the Atlantic after saving a drowning workmate from the turbulent water at the bottom of a ferocious 80ft waterfall.

Sheffield businessman Garry Smith dived in to the Ithaca Falls in New York State after his American colleague, Suresh Natha, who could not swim, fell into the torrent and was knocked unconscious.

Garry then used the lifesaving skills he had picked up as a volunteer lifeguard to get his friend breathing again.

Now the 59-year-old, a technical director for oil and gas industry supplier Howco, is to be honoured with a bravery award.

Garry said: “It’s an event I would rather of not happened in the first place.

“It’s humbling, and not something I would have gone around shouting about because it’s a situation I wouldn’t like anybody to get into. But if it alerts people to the importance of learning to swim that’s okay. This guy had never learned how to swim, and it’s a key life skill.”

Garry, who has worked at the company for 16 years, had travelled to the USA to do some work for the American branch of his firm.

The Mayor of Ithaca and the Chief of Police have arranged for Garry to be awarded with a Medal for Bravery at a ceremony in Sheffield.