Man wades in to 'save child' that turns out to be toy doll

Image source, James Dowley
Image caption,
James Dowley said he was passing the lake when he noticed the floating figure

A man waded into a lake to rescue what he thought was a lifeless baby, only to discover it was a life-sized doll.

James Dowley, 28, from Welshampton, was passing the water at Ellesmere, Shropshire, with his father when he saw the figure floating in the water.

Mr Dowley wrote on Facebook the figure looked "life-like" and he could not go home without checking on its welfare.

The Royal Lifesaving Society (RLSS) said it advised people to refrain from entering "cold and unfamiliar" water.

'Quick instincts'

Image source, James Dowley
Image caption,
Mr Dowley removed his trousers to perform his "rescue"

Mr Dowley said he was in the water for about 20 minutes after wading in about 20 metres [65 ft] when he spotted the figure on 9 January.

"I felt a bit of an idiot carrying a doll but thought it better to be safe than sorry," he said.

"Dad and I both looked and decided we had to do something.

"If we had gone home and discovered it had been what we dreaded, it would have been awful.

"We would have been left wondering if we could have done more when we were at the scene."

Image source, James Dowley
Image caption,
He said he felt, "a bit of an idiot" for rescuing a doll

Lee Heard, the RLSS's head of volunteering, said the society commended the bravery and quick instincts of Mr Dowley.

"We recognise the risk-based approach he took in removing himself from the water as soon as he was aware no live casualty was in danger," he said.

"However, our advice is that people refrain from entering cold and unfamiliar water at all times.

"In addition to any unseen hazards like debris or sudden depth changes, the cold water itself can shock the body and quickly lead to unmanageable physical impairment."

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