John is reunited with woman who saved him

MY HERO: John meets Jacqueline for the first time since he almost drowned.
MY HERO: John meets Jacqueline for the first time since he almost drowned.

A Kirkintilloch man who 
almost drowned has been 
reunited with the woman 
who saved his life - thanks to an appeal in the Herald.

John Rankin collapsed 
after suffering a seizure while 
he was fishing at the River 
Luggie.

Local woman Jacqueline Kirk, who was walking her dog nearby at the time, waded into the water and managed to haul him on to the bank.

By this time John had turned blue and wasn’t breathing. The 52-year-old 
administered first-aid while she waited for an ambulance.

More than a year on, John was able to say thank you to Jacqueline for saving his life when the two met up on Monday for the first time since the dramatic day in May 2014.

He said: “I remember nothing about the day. It is just 
so good to finally meet 
Jacqueline and thank her.”

John and mum Patricia put an appeal in the Herald last week in a bid to track down his rescuer.

They discovered she live just 15 minutes walk away from John’s house in Kirkintilloch.

An emotional Jacqueline, who got in touch after seeing John’s photo, said: “I didn’t know if John was alive or dead. I’m so glad he made it. It’s 
wonderful to see him.” 
She rushed to John’s aid after another passer-by called for help after seeing him lying face down in the water.

Jacqueline said: “All you could see above the water was his red backpack. The adrenalin just kicked in. Luckily I had the strength to pull him out.

“He was blue and I tried to get him to breathe. At first he didn’t respond and I started to panic a bit, then he started to make some sounds.”

Paramedics rushed John, who was near death, to Glasgow Royal Infirmary. He had to be placed on a life support machine and doctors told the family it was unlikely he would surive.

But against the odds he pulled through, spending nine weeks in intensive 
care and enduring months of gruelling treatment.

His sister Suzanne said: “It’s John’s 40th birthday this month. We are just thankful we are not spending it visiting the 
cemetery.”

And mum Patricia said: “Jacqueline is a real hero. Without her, John wouldn’t be here today.”