Hereford & Worcester

Droitwich narrowboat death man 'saved mum and dog'

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Media captionVolunteer lock keeper James Cowlishaw described what he saw as the boat sank

A man saved his mother and dog before dying when his narrowboat sank in a canal lock, eyewitnesses said.

Allen Green lived aboard the Sonskit in Netherwich Basin, near Droitwich, friends told the BBC.

They said after helping the woman and dog to safety, he got back inside the boat to salvage items but could not get out as it filled with water.

Mr Green's 19-year-old daughter, Naomi, told BBC News her father was her "hero" and she loved him very much.

The boat has now been removed from the Droitwich Junction Canal.

Canal death eyewitness accounts on BBC Local Live

Paramedics battled for 40 minutes to resuscitate Mr Green but he died at the scene, West Midlands Ambulance Service said.

An elderly woman managed to get off the boat unharmed before it sank, a spokesman added.

Image copyright Family photo
Image caption Allen Green's death is not being treated as suspicious

Volunteer lock keeper James Cowlishaw said he had spoken to Mr Green on the day of the tragedy and later fought to rescue him.

"He went past on his boat, we passed the time of day and he went off into the distance and we caught him up in those terrible circumstances.

"There was an air gap at the top but we had no response when we were knocking the top of the boat which was worrying.

"I tried to get in the front but it was rammed with bedding and furniture which was floating about in there.

"The emergency services took over and eventually found him.

"We can't understand how he got in the trouble he did."

Image caption The Sonskit sank at lock five on the Droitwich Junction Canal

A witness at the scene said he saw the boat "right at the bottom of the lock" and called an ambulance.

"[There were] two people on it - one at the front and one at the back. They were trying to fight their way through the debris which was floating around in the boat," he said.

The Canal and River Trust, which looks after the canal, said it was trying to find out what happened.

West Mercia Police said there were no suspicious circumstances so it was not investigating.

Image copyright Google/Canal River Trust
Image caption Where The Sonskit sank can be seen in orange on a link route between the Worcester & Birmingham Canal and the River Severn

A spokeswoman for the trust said: "We're deeply saddened to hear that someone has lost their life on the canal, and our thoughts are with the family at this very difficult time.

"Incidents like this are rare, and while there's no indication there's a problem with the canal, we'll be looking at whether there's anything we can do to prevent this kind of thing happening again in future."

The trust, formerly British Waterways, said Droitwich Canals reopened in 2011.

Image caption The narrowboat was raised at about midday on Tuesday

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