Cyclist rescued from water after crashing into canal and calling for help for an hour

A police officer was able to find the 22-year-old rider and pull him from the water

Police tape
(Image credit: Getty Images)

A cyclist was rescued from a canal after he crashed into the water and called for help for an hour.

The 22-year-old cyclist was riding along a canal path in Gloucestershire in the early hours of the morning when he came off his bike and landed in the canal.

He is believed to have been in the water for around an hour before a nearby resident heard his calls for help and a police officer was able to rush to his rescue.

Sergeant Tom Francis from Gloucestershire Constabulary, who found the cyclist, said: “He was very cold when I found him and was unable really to move his arms or legs to help himself from the water.

“Luckily he had been able to hold on to some plants or grass close to the edge of the canal and had not been stranded far out in the open water. The worst part of the rescue itself for me was having to lay in a bed of thistles and nettles in order to reach in and pull him out.”

The cyclist was riding near the Pilot Inn along the Gloucester and Sharpness Canal in Hardwicke, during the early hours of Thursday (May 21) when he fell in the water.

After police were called at around midnight, Sergeant Francis was able to get to the man, who was around 1km along the towpath, and the rider was taken to Gloucestershire Royal Hospital with suspected hypothermia.

Sergeant Francis added: “This is a good chance to remind people of the dangers of the water and, despite the warm weather, cold and hypothermia can still occur when submerged in the water for any length of time.”

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The officer also played down his own role in the rescue, saying: “I would like to pay tribute to my colleagues who were swift to back me up and bring equipment to warm the man and help me get him back to ambulance staff who were waiting on the nearest bridge.”

Alex Ballinger
Alex Ballinger

Alex is the digital news editor for After gaining experience in local newsrooms, national newspapers and in digital journalism, Alex found his calling in cycling, first as a reporter and now as news editor responsible for Cycling Weekly's online news output.

Since pro cycling first captured his heart during the 2010 Tour de France (specifically the Contador-Schleck battle) and joining CW in 2018, Alex has covered three Tours de France, multiple editions of the Tour of Britain, and the World Championships, while both writing and video presenting for Cycling Weekly. He also specialises in fitness writing, often throwing himself into the deep end to help readers improve their own power numbers. 

Away from journalism, Alex is a national level time triallist, avid gamer, and can usually be found buried in an eclectic selection of books.