Matt raises rescue alert

PUBLISHED: 02:01 09 June 2008 | UPDATED: 09:08 10 June 2010

A MODEST 25-year-old Exmouth man this week played down his role in helping to save the life of a woman who walked into the sea. The son of a Budleigh dentist, Matt Maslen, of Morton Crescent Mews, was on Friday night on the beach, talking on his mobile ph

A MODEST 25-year-old Exmouth man this week played down his role in helping to save the life of a woman who walked into the sea.The son of a Budleigh dentist, Matt Maslen, of Morton Crescent Mews, was on Friday night on the beach, talking on his mobile phone, when, around 11pm, he noticed a woman walk down the steps opposite the Clock Tower and wade fully-clothed into the sea.After talking to the woman, aged 46, and worried for her safety, Matt contacted the coastguard team, which launched a full-scale search and rescue mission.A local pleasure boat returning to Exmouth joined the search of The Exe and discovered the woman in the water towards Dawlish Warren.She was taken to the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital, suffering from mild hypothermia after spending 30 minutes in the water.Mr Maslen, an Exeter construction consultant, said his actions were not heroic - but what anyone would do in a similar situation."It was quite a frightening experience, said Mr Maslem, who was on study-leave for a construction consultancy examination when he raised the alarm. "It shook me up. I couldn't go to sleep until four o'clock in the morning."I was the only one who saw her. I think if I hadn't noticed her, she could have been in real trouble."She put her walking stick with her bag and walked into the sea. It took me a little while to work out what was happening."I said: 'What are you doing?' She said: 'Go away'. I said: 'Come on, let's talk about it'."Concerned for the woman's safety, Mr Maslen, a former medical student, dialled the emergency services and asked for help.While he was on the phone, he lost sight of the woman in the dark.Minutes later, the coastguard team, lifeboat crews and the police arrived and began carrying out a thorough search of the river. Mr Maslen said: "I wasn't able to talk her out of the water, and I could have been in trouble if I'd gone in after her - who would have called the coastguard? "I just did what anyone else would have done. The coastguards who coordinated the rescue are the real heroes. "They were awesome and did a great job. They saved her - not me."A police spokesperson said: "We would like to thank all those involved in the incident, particularly the family who found the woman.

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