THREE quick-thinking fishmongers saved a man’s life — after spotting him leaning from a bridge as they drove to work.

Darren Hamer, boss of HJ Grundy meats and fish in Bolton Market, was driving to work with his employees Lee Kirk and Paul Barrett when they saw what they believed was a coat hanging over the bridge in Bradford Street, The Haulgh, at around 5am last Saturday.

Mr Hamer, aged 42, quickly turned the van around after they realised it was a man hanging on to the railings of the bridge over the southbound carriageway of St Peter’s Way.

Mr Kirk, aged 46, and Mr Barrett, aged 39, jumped out of the van as it was coming to a halt and ran to help the man.

Mr Kirk said: “We couldn’t believe it that a man was there in that position. He was a Russian man and we was all suited up.

“We thought he’d had too much to drink at first then realised what he was doing. We managed to get him to the floor.

“He said his wife had left him and he had nothing to live for. I had major heart surgery last January and I told him he had everything to live for.”

Mr Hamer called police and the heroic trio stayed with the man, comforting him.

He showed them letters he had written to his wife and children and his passport.

He was very emotional, telling the men why he was there.

A police spokesman said officers attended and the man, aged in his 40s, was taken to hospital and later discharged.

Mr Kirk said: “We were reflecting on it afterwards and if we had been a second or two later we would have lost him.

“We feel very humbled. I feel humbled that a surgeon saved my life and then a year later I saved someone else’s life.”

Mr Hamer said: “It was really lucky that we were there as we have to get Paul up so it is just lucky that he was up in time that day.

"It was a real shame finding the man like that.”

The incident happened on Saturday, December 28, just hours after another man had died at the same spot.

On Friday evening Kyle Smith, aged 26, died after falling from the bridge.

Police were called and found him on the wrong side of the barrier, but he fell while they were talking to him. Officers attempted to hold on to him.