A CYCLIST who fell into the canal near Leigh Bridge has praised three teenagers who rescued him.

Connor Bracken, from Leigh, was on his bike on Tuesday at around 7pm when he lost control and veered into the water.

The 24-year-old fought for his life as he struggled to stay afloat.

Luckily for Connor, three Wigan and Leigh College students witnessed the incident and raced over before managing to pull him out of the canal.

Connor said: "When I fell in I was just thinking of keeping my head above water - I was very scared.

"I managed to get to the side of the canal and saw a hand and grabbed it.

"I am not a good swimmer and if it was not for the people who were there I would not be alive.

"I am really grateful to them and I cannot thank them enough."

Lior Ronen, 18, Connor Harkness, 19, and Nicole Pirich, 17, are the Good Samaritans who dragged the cyclist out of the water.

Leigh Journal:

Wigan and Leigh College student Lior Ronen

Lior, from Leigh, said: "We were sat on a bench at the side of the canal near Leigh Bridge when a cyclist lost his balance and toppled into the water.

"We immediately ran over to help him get out.

"After we pulled him out he was limping, hyperventilating and saying that he couldn't breathe.

"I can't imagine what the sheer panic must be like nearly drowning in such dirty waters desperately wishing for a miracle to rescue him."

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After details of the incident were shared on social media, the three students received an outpouring of praise from the community.

Lior added: "We're just extremely glad Connor is OK and that we happened to be at the right place at the right time to help him."

Despite being offered the chance to be collected by ambulance, Connor told the three friends he was fine to make his own way home.

When he arrived home he broke down in tears in front of his partner CJ when he explained what had happened.

Connor was taken to hospital and suffered injuries to his right leg.

He was given crutches to aid his recovery.