20 Mar 2019
A hero bus driver who pulled a young woman to safety from a freezing canal said he was just doing what any other person would do.
Bob Uzzell, 61, was driving passengers on the 66S route through Stroud on the morning of Wednesday, March 6.
He was driving between Cainscross Roundabout and Dudbridge Hill when something caught his eye and made him feel uneasy.
Driving along the route, he saw a woman standing on the wrong side of Dudbridge Road Bridge.
Mr Uzzell stopped his bus, put on his hazard lights and shouted across to the woman.
He said: “I just thought to myself, ‘something doesn’t look right’, so I leant out of the window and shouted across ‘are you okay?’ As soon as I said that, she jumped.”
“I put the handbrake on immediately, got out of the bus as quick as I could and scrambled down to the canal, thinking I am going to have to jump in after her.
“I am nearly 62 and I suffer a bit with arthritis and I didn’t think I could run any more but the adrenalin got me going quickly – I was really shifting.
“Another man came down as well and we were able to lie on our front and haul her back in, I wrapped her in my coat.
“I am sure anyone in that situation would have done the same thing. I didn’t think about it, I just reacted.”
Other motorists and passers by had noticed the commotion and called for the police and an ambulance, who were quickly on scene.
They then took charge of the situation, leaving Uzzell – a Stagecoach driver for 10 years – to go back to his bus and passengers, complete with a soaking wet coat.
“I just walked back up to the bus and started back on my route,” he said.
“I got around the next corner and stopped to pick up a passenger and she said ‘you’re late’.
“I thought to myself that she’s never going to believe the story, but I apologised and then told her what had happened and then she was so apologetic.
“The other passengers were great about it and they understood the reason for the short delay.
“Although, by the time I had completed the circuit and arrived in Gloucester, I was back on time!”
A spokesperson for Gloucestershire Constabulary confirmed that officers were called to an incident in Stroud on Wednesday, March 6. They said that the woman was taken to hospital.
Rupert Cox, managing director of Stagecoach West added: “We’re so proud of Bob and his actions on that morning.
“He responded quickly and calmly to a potentially dangerous situation and without his selfless actions, the outcome could have been far worse.
“We’re especially proud of him for dusting himself down, getting straight back on his route and continuing his duties.”