Insurance has a new hero – and his name is Mark Maloney.
The 37-year-old, who works for Ageas
in Newcastle-Under-Lyme, at the former Fortis Insurance office, heard a mother’s screams for her child who had slipped through the railings and into the Thames while he was with colleagues on a work engagement at The Old Thameside Inn on Bankside.
The current was fierce, but Maloney, who has taken part in Ironman contests and triathlons, dived into the water and was able to grab the four-year-old before he was swept away.
“I just acted on instinct without thinking really. I do a lot of triathlons and lots of open swimming so I thought I could help,” he told the Standard.
“In the water I was panicking because I couldn’t see him, I was screaming up to my mates ‘where is he?’ And suddenly his head popped up in front of me.
“He was bobbing under and I didn’t think he would come back up again so I managed get hold of him.
“I was talking to him to reassure him. I asked him what his name was and telling him he was going to be OK, that we’re nearly there.
“He managed to tell me his name but was in total shock. It was a really tough current, I did a huge open water swim in Ironman competition in the summer but I was struggling to keep us both afloat.”
Maloney’s manager Andrew Edwards, 45, then tossed Maloney an emergency ring which he was able to grab hold of and the pair were pulled to safety.
Edwards commented that it was the “most heroic thing I have ever seen” and that Maloney was the only one in the group with the strength to do it noting “seconds later and he would have gone.”
According to the police, the boy was taken to hospital as a precaution and has since been discharged.