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Blackburn charity canal jumper seriously injured after missing water
Updated 4:32pm Tuesday 31st December 2013 in News
A MAN suffered serious head and chest injuries when he jumped off a canal bridge for charity but missed the water.
Witnesses said Lewis Elliott had stripped to his underwear and was aiming for Leeds and Liverpool Canal.
But he slipped as he climbed over a barrier and hit the tow path instead.
They said the 25-year-old, of Bedford Street, Blackburn, had decided to jump off the 20ft-high bridge to raise money for a charity which helped his ill baby as he drank in the Navigation Inn, in Mill Hill.
Police said Mr Elliott was reportedly ‘drunk’ at the time.
Customers in the Canal Street pub, where Mr Elliott is a regular, were said to have been concerned for his safety prior to the jump and had reportedly offered to give him money not to climb over the edge.
Stephen Oliver, 51, of West View in Wensley Fold, was walking over the canal bridge in Kings Bridge Street when he witnessed the incident.
He said: “I saw this guy run up the small cobbled street from The Navigation pub and he only had boxer shorts and shoes on.
“He ran past me and grabbed the barrier and jumped over, but I think he might have caught his foot on the edge.
“I heard a thump and started panicking, I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.
“I ran over and looked down and just saw him lying on his front with his head to the side.
“Then more people came from the pub and were standing with him and someone was calling 999.
“He was lying like that for about an hour and I stayed because I wanted to see if he was okay, until the air ambulance arrived.
“Even if he had landed in the water he could have seriously hurt himself or caught hypothermia.”
Mr Elliott, who is married, is understood to still be receiving treatment a week after the fall at 2pm on Christmas Eve.
His uncle, Lee Tanner, of Angela Street, said: “He was walking into the middle to jump into the canal and he slipped.
“Lewis banged his head and knocked himself out.
“I just hope he gets better soon.”
A police spokeswoman said there would be no further police involvement in the fall.
She said: “According to the report we received, the man attempted to jump off the bridge and into the canal due to drunkenness, but missed the water.
“He was airlifted to the Royal Preston Hospital with serious head injuries and was said to be stable.
“There were no suspicious circumstances.”
A spokesman for the North West Air Ambulance said: “We attended the incident after a report that a man had jumped from about 15ft.
“He was seriously injured and we flew him to Royal Preston Hospital.
“He was as stable as he could be under the circumstances.”