Brave West Yorkshire teen risked own life to save 18-month-old from canal

A brave teenager risked his own life to save a toddler from drowning in a canal.

Without a second thought for his own safety Ryley Ferguson plunged into the Aire and Calder at Knottingley when he saw a small boy close to the water.

Ryley, 15, was walking his dogs when he spotted the child before hearing a loud splash at about 4pm on Sunday.

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He said: “Basically, I was walking the dogs on the other side of the canal and I could hear this little kid shouting us and waving.

Ryley Ferguson with familyRyley Ferguson with family
Ryley Ferguson with family | jpimedia

“I realised how young he was and with him being on the other side I thought I need to go and get him or he’s going to go in.

“A few seconds later, he did and I saw his legs sinking, I threw my coat off and jumped in after him.

“I’d managed to get him but I was in the water shouting for help for about five minutes until two men came and helped me.

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“Since it’s happened I’ve been ok, it doesn't feel real and I did what anyone else would do, it’s just lucky that I was there because 30 seconds later, he would have been dead.”

It is believed the toddler, who is about 18 months old, had managed to get out of the family home unnoticed.

Ryley, who is currently looking for an apprenticeship in electrical engineering, said the boy has been returned to his mother and is doing well.

Amy Ferguson, Ryley’s mum, said she and his dad Michael are ‘so proud’ of him.

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Amy said: “It’s all overwhelming, obviously we are really proud of him.

“We heard from one of the neighbours near the canal that they saw what happened and she said Ryley didn’t hesitate and jumped straight in after the toddler.

“He was brilliant, he wasn’t strong enough to help the kid out of the canal, and he was holding him above water for some time so it’s lucky people came to help."

Knottingley councillor Tom Gordon has called upon the Mayor of Wakefield Council, Coun Charlie Keith, to make sure Ryley gets recognised for his heroic act.

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Coun Gordon said: "After hearing about what happened I contacted the Mayor to inform him. I do hope that we can find a fitting way of acknowledging his brave and selfless actions.

“Our town is extremely fortunate to have a lad like Ryley. He’s a hero and he deserves to be recognised as such."


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