Six police officers honoured for efforts to rescue girls from car in river
They were among 23 officers recognised for acts of courage by the Scottish Police Federation.
Six police officers who worked to free two girls from a car that overturned into a flooded river in a fatal accident have been honoured for their bravery.
They were among 23 officers recognised for acts of courage – on or off duty – by the Scottish Police Federation (SPF) at an awards ceremony in Edinburgh on Thursday.
In December last year, the silver Audi came off the road in Ellon, Aberdeenshire, and ended up on its roof, submerged in the freezing cold water.
Two children, 14-year-old Kirsten Duguid and a 12-year-old girl, were trapped inside, while the 43-year-old man driving the car managed to escape.
Sergeant Andy Sawers and police constables Kirsteen McArthur, Carolyn Wright, Calum McDougall, David Ritchie and John Grant all rushed to the scene when the alarm was raised.
Mr Sawers, Mr Ritchie, Mr McDougall and Ms Wright went into the water to try to free the girls, with Ms Wright going underwater and prising the car door open with a crowbar.
With the help of Mr McDougall, she freed the 12-year-old and helped her on to the embankment, where she was assisted by recently-retired Pc Kirsteen McArthur.
The four officers then stayed in the river to continue their efforts to get Kirsten out, who had been fully submerged by water.
They managed to free her, unconscious and not breathing, and Mr McDougall and Mr Grant administered CPR, the SPF said.
Despite their best efforts, she died hours later in hospital.
Mr Sawers said: “The whole team really pulled together so well, we just got things done that needed to happen. It was dark, confusing and freezing but everyone worked hard to save those girls.”
The team said that while they are honoured to win the award, their thoughts remain with the bereaved family.
Kirsten’s relatives have thanked the police involved for their bravery.
Justice Secretary Michael Matheson said: “These heroic attempts, in extraordinarily difficult circumstances, to try to save the lives of two young girls, reinforce everything that we have come to expect from officers from Police Scotland.
“I commend their bravery and thank each of them for going above and beyond the call of duty to protect the public. Our sincere sympathies remain with the family who lost a loved one in such tragic circumstances.”
Other bravery award winners included DC Brian Todd, from Leith, who, whilst off duty, disarmed a drunken man with an air rifle who was shooting at nearby individuals.
Pc Daniel White and Pc Alexander McCullough, of Glasgow, were involved in a widely-publicised incident in the city’s West Nile Street in which they subdued a man who was covered in blood from self-inflicted wounds and was carrying dangerous weapons.
SPF chair Andrea MacDonald said: “Most of these incidents involved a life or death situation and were it not for the bravery of these men and women, many more people could have lost their lives.”
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