Man and his carer die after being pulled from freezing canal in Wigan

Granada Reports journalist Claire Hannah was at the scene in Abram

A carer has died after diving into a canal to try and rescue the man he was looking after - who also lost his life following the fall.

A huge rescue operation was launched to pull Aaron Ritchie and his carer out of the water in Abram, Wigan on the afternoon of Tuesday 28 November.

Police believe Aaron, 49, was walking along the towpath of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal when he fell in.

His carer, aged 60, then went into the water to try and rescue him.

The Police and Fire Service took part in the operation, and both men were eventually rescued and rushed to hospital by paramedics.Greater Manchester Police (GMP) confirmed on 29 November that both men died in hospital.

The next of kin of Aaron’s carer, a 60-year-old man, have been informed of his death.

An investigation is now underway, though there are not believed to be any suspicious circumstances.Aaron’s family have paid tribute to him: “It's come as a complete shock to us as a family surrounding the tragic accident of what happened on Tuesday afternoon.

"Aaron was a loveable character who made a big impression on everyone who knew him.

“Aaron had special needs and he loved the outdoor life and as long as he had his puzzles, laces and spinning tops he was happy. Aaron is surely going to be missed by us as a family.”

“We would like to pass on our sincere condolences to his carers family and a special thank you to the emergency services who attended trying to save them.”

Aaron's family said he was "a loveable character who made a big impression on everyone who knew him" Credit: Family photo/GMP

In a statement issued on 29 November, a GMP spokesperson said: "At 2.15pm yesterday (Tuesday 28 November) Greater Manchester Police were called to reports of concerns for welfare at Crank Wood canal, Abram, Wigan."Specialist officers in a multi-agency emergency response attended the location, and two men aged 49 and 60 were taken to hospital for treatment. Despite the best efforts of medical staff, both men sadly passed away yesterday afternoon."Detectives believe that two men had entered the water and come into difficulty and at this time there are believed to be no suspicious circumstances, however, officers are currently working to establish the exact timeline of events leading up to this incident and enquiries remain ongoing."

Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To know...