| Last updated
You can imagine the horror that flashed through James Dowly's mind as he and his father drove past The Mere in Ellesmere, Shropshire and saw a baby floating lifeless in the water.
They stopped the car in a panic and the 28-year-old rushed into the lake, wading about 20 meters into the freezing, icy water to reach the infant - only to discover it was a life-sized doll.
James' father caught the dramatic rescue on camera, presumably with a mind to sharing his heroics with the world, although if it had been a real baby it probably would have been dead and the photos pretty gruesome.
Still, as the father of a 10-month-old girl himself, James could only think of trying to save its life.
"My father and I could not leave without confirmation of what it was or ringing the emergency services," he said. "If it was an actual baby, I just couldn't live with knowing that I'd driven straight past it."
And even if, deep down, the pair knew it probably wasn't a real human baby, they had to make sure, and the only way of doing that was to enter the frigid water.
"From a distance it looked very real and we were starting to convince ourselves that it was actually a real person," said James. "It was like something out of a horror movie. I had no idea what I was going to find when I jumped in there, it was very scary."
And while any fantasies of being labelled a hero must have faded when he realised it was just a doll after all, it was still pretty brave of him to go into the water after it. Not that he really thinks so.
"I don't think that it was particularly brave," he said. "I was doing what I hoped anyone else would have done.
"I did feel like a bit of an idiot, coming out of the water carrying a toy doll, but at the end of the day it's better to be safe than sorry."
It's just lucky he didn't contract pneumonia from his little escapade or, even worse, drown in the process. And he got a really great story out of it that'll last the rest of his life. We still think his heroics deserve a medal of some sort. Although maybe it'd be more appropriate if that too was made of plastic.
Chosen for YouChosen for You
Most Read StoriesMost Read