Thankfully the swift actions of bystanders – an elderly tourist and a younger local man – saved Charlie Milne’s life and allowed him to see his four-year-old son again.
Charlie (40), from Falkirk, is a keen fisherman and had gone down to the banks of the canal around noon on Tuesday, August 10 to try his luck – following his route down the lane at the Star Inn, just off Grahams Road, and taking up position at the lock gates at the back of St Mungo’s High School.
"I just fancied getting out of the house and getting some fresh air,” said Charlie. “The thing is I had just caught only my second fish in five years. I can remember getting the fish – a pike – out of the canal and then setting up another lure on my rod.
"That’s the last thing I remember. The next thing I know I was soaking wet and looking up at the paramedics.”
Charlie had suffered some kind of seizure and had fallen into the canal.
Luckily a man and his wife, who were reportedly visiting the area from their home in England, heard the splash and the man – said to be getting on in years – bravely got into the canal to try and fish Charlie’s unconscious body out.
However, he was not able to do anything but keep Charlie’s head above water and shout for help.
That SOS was answered by a younger man from the area who was walking along the canal path.
The man, who does not want to be named, was able to haul him out, and put him in the recovery position while they waited for the ambulance to arrive.
"I just want to thank them,” said Charlie. “You know I can remember the paramedics, but I can’t remember the two guys who actually saved me from the canal.”
Charlie was checked over and released from Forth Valley Royal Hospital early the next day.
He was quick to heap praise on the two men – including the older one, who has since travelled down to England with a dramatic story to tell his friends and family about his visit to Scotland.
“I’m just a very lucky guy,” he said. “If those guys hadn’t been there I wouldn’t be here My son wouldn’t have a dad if it hadn’t been for those men. It's opened my eyes a lot to second chances.”
Charlie admitted he’s scared to go fishing on his own again until he gets to the bottom of what caused his seizure.
“I had one in my house in Glasgow 10 years ago, but my sister was there to help.
"I’m getting a CT scan at the hospital to see if they can find out what caused it. It’s really scary to know you lost consciousness like that and it’s only thanks to the bravery of those two guys that you are still around to tell the tale.”