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Disabled man and his carer die after falling in canal

Aaron Ritchie

A disabled man and their carer have both died after a rescue mission went wrong in freezing water.

Aaron Ritchie, 49,  who had additional needs, fell into the Leeds and Liverpool canal at Crank Wood, Wigan, in Greater Manchester on Tuesday 28th November. 

His 60-year-old carer, who has not been named, jumped in trying to save the disabled man.

Both men were pulled to shore by Greater Manchester Police, but died in hospital.

The carer’s next of kin has been notified about his tragic death.

In a statement Ritchie’s family said: “It's come as a complete shock to us as a family surrounding the tragic accident of what happened on Tuesday afternoon.

"Aaron was a loveable character who made a big impression on everyone who knew him. Aaron had special needs and he loved the outdoor life and as long as he had his puzzles, laces and spinning tops he was happy. Aaron is surely going to be missed by us as a family. We would like to pass on our sincere condolences to his carer's family and a special thank you to the emergency services who attended trying to save them."

The police said in a statement:  "At approximately 2.15pm on Tuesday 28 November 2023) emergency services were alerted to the presence of two males who had entered the water at Crank Wood canal, Abram, and came into difficulty. The men were retrieved from the water by specialist personnel in a multi-agency emergency response.

"Life-saving intervention was conducted by medical staff however sadly both males tragically passed away later in hospital. The next of kin of Aaron’s carer, a 60-year-old man, have been informed of his death. Their deaths are not being treated as suspicious and police are continuing to establish the circumstances behind their deaths. A scene remains in place at the canal."

[ It is thought both men were walking along the canal and fell into the water ]

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