A GRANDFATHER has told of the moment he plunged into icy four foot waves in a bid to rescue someone from the sea near Sandbanks.

Retired businessman Barry Weir spotted a man “playing in the surf” fully dressed in a black suit, while he was walking with his wife on the promenade on Monday.

He called the coastguard, but when he saw the figure roll over and lie face down in the water he didn’t hesitate.

Despite the distance and they fact he was not a strong swimmer, the 59-year-old stripped off and plunged into the freezing waters.

“There was no one else there,” he told the Echo. “I’m not a good swimmer at all.

“When I got out there and four foot waves were crashing over me the question of “what am I doing here?” did come into my head, but he wasn’t that far away, and there was a break in the waves so I went for it.”

Barry, from Canford Cliffs, managed to pull the man back to the shore and up the beach.

He put him in the recovery position and others who had raced to meet him performed CPR.

By that point he was so cold he was struggling to breathe. When paramedics took his temperature it was just 20 degrees.

The father of three and grandfather of one said: “It’s a pity I couldn’t get to him in time. But would I do it again – yes definitely.”

“I was just second nature really,” he added.

The man was pronounced dead at the scene.

An inquest was opened at Stafford Road Coroner’s Court, where he was identified as 53-year-old Stephen John Saunders, a self-employed print broker from Poole. The cause of death was given as drowning.

The inquest was adjourned to a later date.