Life Saving Officers & Teen Commended

21 May 2019, 09:24 | Updated: 21 May 2019, 09:26

Bay Rescuers

Four officers who formed a human chain to haul a man from the tides of Morecambe Bay have got their Commendations from the Chief Constable of Cumbria Police.

The quartet saved the distressed man's life at Canal Head in Ulverston a year ago.

Temporary Superintendent for South Cumbria Matt Pearman said: “The general public may not be aware of how often our officers are called upon to help those experiencing extremely serious mental health issues. It is part of the unseen policing which is rarely publicised.

“However, I am extremely proud of the way our officers react to such situations. In this case, their efforts have undoubtedly saved a man’s life.”

On Friday, 18 May 2018, Police Constables Eric McKinley, Callum Lennox, Rick Harvey and Craig Stevenson were engaged in a search for a man who had been reported as a high-risk missing person due to concerns about his safety and mental well-being.

The officers were searching the sands by torchlight and located the man on the opposite side of a very wide and deep gully, a significant way from the shore.

The man was in a very distressed state and the officers were finding it difficult to get close to him.

The tide then began to turn and rise fast against the man who became overcome by the water. He was taken by the tide and the officers could see he was struggling to stay afloat.

Recognising he may be swept away with no chance of survival, the officers swiftly took action, linking each other arm-by-arm and stretching into the water. With the first officer anchored to the water’s edge, the fourth officer – submerged up to his chest - reached out and grabbed hold of the man as he was rushing down water, securing him before the officers were able to pull him to safety.

A waiting ambulance then treated the man by the water’s edge.

Temporary Superintendent Pearman said: “The officers displayed remarkable courage and teamwork to save the life of a man who was at genuine risk of drowning.

“It cannot be overestimated how perilous a situation this was and how potentially dangerous it was for the officers attempting to rescue the man.

“Their actions that day were a credit to the Constabulary and have rightly been recognised by the Chief Constable.”

Meanwhile, A 13-year old boy from Kendal was also recognised at a ceremony last night, for his part finding a missing man.

Luke Atkinson, 13, a pupil at Kirkbie Kendal School, was one of those approached by officers. Whilst Luke had not seen the man, he made sure to remember the face.

Later in the day Luke spotted a man matching the description, near to the river.

Not only did he swiftly dial 999 but he was also able to stay in the area and watch the man’s movements from a safe distance until officers arrived at the scene.

Inspector Jo Fawcett said: “Luke’s actions were remarkable for one so young and we are extremely grateful to have members of the public like him who can help us find vulnerable missing people.

“His quick decision to call 999 was pivotal to allowing officers to get to the man in time, whilst his staying close by also meant he could guide officers to the exact location.

“Without Luke’s mature and responsible actions that day, this search for this man could easily have ended in tragedy. He is a credit to his family, school and to the county of Cumbria.”