Wheelchair man ‘critical’ after harbour fall into sea

Passers-by pulled man from sea at port. Picture: Phil Wilkinson
Passers-by pulled man from sea at port. Picture: Phil Wilkinson
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A DISABLED man who fell off a quayside and into the sea in his wheelchair was in critical condition in hospital last night.

The man, named locally as James Lewis, was rescued by three brave locals who dashed to his aid at about 12.40pm yesterday at Port Seton ­harbour.

The alarm was raised when the 56-year-old’s carer was heard “screaming and bawling” for help.

His three rescuers – one of whom works at the nearby Brian Lees Motor Engineering garage – are understood to have leaped into the water in a bid to grab hold of Mr Lewis and drag him to safety before an ambulance ­arrived.

Last night a spokesman for the garage said his hero colleague had been left “too shaken” by the incident to talk about it.

Mr Lewis was taken by ambulance to the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary where his condition last night was updated from “serious” to “critical”.

Police later cordoned off the area and an investigation is now under way to establish what happened.

One local business owner said: “We just heard he fell into the harbour in his wheelchair, and when he fell the wheelchair caught his leg and pulled him down into the water. A couple of local lads went in afterwards to try to rescue him.”

It is believed Mr Lewis, who is believed to be from Port Seton, broke his neck in an accident while on holiday a few years ago and has had to use a wheelchair since.

A fire service spokesman confirmed one engine from Tranent had been called out to the scene but was not involved in the rescue operation.

A Police Scotland spokesman said: “Police in East Lothian attended an incident at Port Seton harbour around 12.40pm yesterday following reports of a man in the water.

“The man was rescued from the water by passers-by and treated by the Scottish Ambulance Service. He was conveyed to the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary where his condition is critical.”