TRIPLE WORLD Champion canoeist and National Police officer, Oscar Grana from Pontevedra, became a local hero, by saving a drowning woman’s life last week whilst on a training session on his favourite stretch of river.
The athlete was off duty, canoeing on a rough stretch of the River Lerez, in challenging conditions, near to the bridge of Monte Porreiro, when he spotted a body in the rapids, face down, about to sink below the water line.
He jumped out of his canoe, grabbed the body with one arm and swam ashore with his free arm, eventually pulling the person onto the river bank.
Once ashore, he became aware that the person, a woman he assumed to be around 65 years of age, was hardly breathing and appeared to be slipping into a state of unconsciousness.
He immediately instigated resuscitation procedures which quickly brought the woman back to consciousness. Police and rescue services who had already been alerted arrived soon after to transfer the victim to hospital in pontevedra, where she received treatment and remained in a stable condition.
A police spokesman, speaking to the Spanish press, praised the timely intervention of the canoeist, who he confirmed had undoubtedly saved the life of the woman.
He also told reporters, the local police had received a phone call from her worried family earlier that morning, saying she had gone missing.
For his own part Grana, told reporters, he does not consider himself a hero, as anyone would have done the same under similar circumstances.
” Everyone’s natural instinct is to help others ” he said ” “I saw that there was someone splashing and at first I did not give it any importance, but when I approached I saw that it was the body of a person and it was sinking to the bottom of the river,” he explained.
He said, the rescue was complicated because the woman was wearing heavy clothes which were dragging her under the water.
Once ashore, the body “did not respond and was practically unconscious, so I put her on the side and started to expel a lot of water through the mouth”, after which the woman “began to catch for air and her eyes opened.”
Police also revealed this was not the first time the champion canoeist had saved a person’s life. In 2015, in almost identical circumstances Grana saved the life of a woman who had got into difficulties on the same stretch of river.