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Father’s praise for his lifesaving children

A Leeds father who was knocked unconscious by his jet ski has thanked his two children for saving his life.

Ian Chappell, 54, was enjoying a family holiday in the south of France when his jet ski caught the wake of a ship.

The waves made Mr Chappell fall from his jet ski which hit him on the head causing him to lose consciousness in the sea.

His children, who are both trained lifeguards, Jonathan, 23, and Freya, 19, raced to their father’s aid.

Jonathan gave his father the kiss of life and Freya, who was not wearing her glasses or contact lenses, made the challenging mile journey back to shore to raise the alarm.

Mr Chappell said: “If they were not there then I wouldn’t have survived.

“I was faced down in the water and unconscious and had my children not been there then I would not be here now.

“I am just immensely proud of both of them.

“How could a father thank his children who saved his life?

“It is not something you would expect to happen.

“What happened is something that none of us will ever forget.”

The siblings are set to receive top national life-saving awards from the Royal Humane Society for their courageous efforts.

Jet ski instructor Samuel Deal, who was with the family at the time, will also receive an award following the incident in September last year.

And the duo from Horsforth, Leeds, will also receive a Gilt Cross award for their bravery from The Scout Association.

Mr Chappell, who is also a scout leader, added: “I can’t really remember what happened.

“It is just a total blank for me.

“The last thing I remember was the blue sea, blue skies and the Alps in front of me.

“I woke up in hospital and spent six days there before I came back home.

“Thankfully they had the training and were both trained lifesavers.

“We are just indebted to them.”

 

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