On Tuesday 12 September 2023, angler David Pike was fishing at Storks Nest, on the west bank of the river Ijssel, near Zwolle, Netherlands.

A large wave from a passing boat knocked David from his seat, distributing his fishing equipment in the river. While attempting to recover some of his belongings, he fell into the river and was dragged out by the powerful current.

Paul Holmes heard David’s cries and tracked him down the river from the bank. After seeing David go under at least three times, he decided to take action. Without any lifesaving equipment Paul dived into the river and swam the 20 metres from the bank to where David was. Despite the strong current, Paul managed to secure David and eventually swim with him back to the riverbank. It should be noted that David is 6ft 4in and weighs over 17 stone. He was also fully clothed, adding additional weight. At 5ft 9in and under 13 stone, Paul is much smaller, so the effort to do this was exceptional.

David was pulled from the river after an incident which no doubt would have resulted in his drowning. David, who is an ex-army officer and helicopter pilot said after the incident he had never felt so close to death than whilst in the river. Paul’s intervention most likely saved David’s life.

The Royal Life Saving Society UK awarded Paul a Certificate of Recognition for his quick and selfless actions.

Water Safety Advice for Anglers