The Burnley police officer who rescued a two-year-old toddler from the Leeds and Liverpool Canal has spoken of the moment she saw his lifeless body floating in the water.
Little Ayaan Shah remains seriously ill in hospital but is showing signs of recovery, thanks in no small part to the courageous efforts of PCSO Beccy Walker (28) and her police colleagues.
Ayaan was reported missing by his mum, Naziea Khan, at 5-35pm on Monday, April 15th, after he escaped from her grasp in the Pheasantford Green area.
PCSO Walker was eating her tea at Burnley Police Station when she first heard the call.
“The call came in over the radio. The location was a bit a sketchy at first but on the way it became a bit clearer. We were told it was the Pheasantford Green area. I’ve worked that area for four-and-a-half years so I instantly went to where the gravel car park is near Karlen Antique’s.
“Everybody else was up at the top end of Pit Top Park. As me and my colleague were getting out of the car we said to each other, ‘surely a two-year-old wouldn’t go anywhere near the water’. Then we looked at other and headed towards the canal.”
As she approached the water, her view was obscured by a tree on the side of the canal. She made her way to the other side and was greeted with a sight she could only describe as “horrible”.
“I walked around the canal to the other side and that’s when I saw him, face down in the water. It was horrible. His bum was up in the air and I could only just about see the back of his head.
“I pressed my emergency button, told them that he was in the water, took off my stab vest and jumped in. I don’t know how deep the water is but I wasn’t able to stand up. I tried to swim him to the side but I was really struggling. I managed somehow to push him to the side and then a colleague pulled him out. He was then given CPR by one of my colleagues while we waited for the ambulance. It was an unbelievable team effort.”
PCSO Walker said she had spoken to the family and they were extremely grateful to her and the other officers involved.
“They are just so grateful that we managed to save their little boy. He’s doing all right . He’s off all the machines now and is in a ward.
“He’s still serious but he is stable. His family said that his eyes are open but he still hasn’t been able to communicate yet.
“I just hope he makes a full recovery.”