The 74-year-old victim cut his face after banging his head in the fall on Sunday afternoon. A gang of two or three male youths pushed him from behind as he peacefully sat on the bank of the River Mersey in Warrington, Cheshire.
Two women passing by came to the man’s aid, Cheshire Live reports.
But the pensioner was left shaken following the ordeal and police are desperate to trace the young thugs.
Facebook users vented their fury at the sickening offence.
One wrote: “Sadly today the punishment does not fit the crime, probably a slap on the wrist and told not to do it again.”
Another added: “Something needs to be done about these unruly youths of today, it’s because they know they get away with things too easily, they do things all the more, do what’s right and throw the book at them.
“This guy is someone’s dad, grandad, if he was a member of my family I’d be guns blazing, they are no less than sick in the head if they think pushing an elderly man into the water is funny! Hope the man in question makes a speedy recovery.”
One user commented: “He’s lucky he wasn’t knocked unconscious when he banged his head!
“Being he walked home, he probably didn’t want any fuss made when the women helped him, are they able to give a description of the youths.”
Sergeant Mark Spaven, of Warrington Local Policing Unit, said: “This was a shocking and upsetting incident which has understandably left the gentleman shaken.
“He returned home freezing cold and had sustained a cut to his face due to banging his head as he fell into the water.
“We are determined to find those responsible and I am urging anyone who has any information or believes they know who did this to come forward.
“I also want to appeal to the two women who thankfully came to his rescue to please get in touch with us as you could have information which could help our investigation.”
The horror happened in the centre of Warrington between 2.30pm and 3pm, and police believe there will have been several witnesses.
It happened near a popular retail park and a McDonald’s.
Anyone who can assist police with their enquiries should contact 101 quoting IML 973152 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.