South Scotland

Two girls swept into sea by waves at Eyemouth

A coastguard ship in Eyemouth
Image caption The two girls were swept into the sea at Eyemouth and had to be rescued

A teenage girl is in a critical but stable condition in hospital after she and another girl were swept into the sea by large waves at Eyemouth in the Scottish Borders.

The pair, aged 13 and 14, were swept off steps at the harbour wall at about 15:30 on Monday.

The younger girl was pulled ashore by members of the public.

Katie MacLean, 14, was pulled to safety by police officers after being knocked unconscious.

She was flown to the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Edinburgh.

A Lothian and Borders Police spokesman said: "Police were called to the beachfront at Eyemouth following an incident where two teenage girls were swept into the sea by heavy waves.

"The 13-year-old girl suffered no serious injury, however the 14-year-old was airlifted to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, where she is in a serious condition."

Gail Murdie, 41, from Bonnyrigg, who was enjoying a day out with her three sons and husband in Eyemouth, told the BBC Scotland news website it was like "a nightmare scene out of a film".

She said: "It was terrible, frightening and my son could not get to sleep last night because he kept worrying about the girl.

"I remember three girls with their towels having a great time getting soaked by the waves crashing over the wall.

Image caption Several passers-by tried to save the young girl from the water

"It was a lovely day but the sea was wild and a big wave even managed to soak us and we were further back than the girls were.

"Then it died down for a wee bit so the girls went down the steps and that's when I heard a woman shout that one of the girls had been swept into the water."

Mrs Murdie's husband David, 37, then held on to a man's legs as he leaned into the sea in a bid to grab the girl.

Mrs Murdie said at first the girl was able to swim but then she just lost energy because she was being "bashed" against the rocks and eventually she was face down in the water.

She said there were a lot of people "all in a panic" throwing in dog leads because there were no safety rings nearby.

Floatation rings

Mr Murdie said: "I'm from Dunbar and flotation rings are easily found there. A few of us were looking for them near the sea wall at Eyemouth, but we couldn't see any.

Image caption Large waves had been crashing against the harbour wall when the girls were caught up

"Somebody got a ratchet strap, something that can be used on a lorry to hold things in place. A couple of us tied a guy to the strap and held the end of the strap whilst he jumped in. Unfortunately, because of the waves he could not reach the girl.

"She wasn't making any noise, she was just trying to swim. She was swimming and then all of a sudden she stopped.

"The poor girl was just being slammed against the wall. The waves knocked her around to the other side of the steps.

"Something really needs to be done about safety in the area in terms of making floatation rings more easily available."

Two policemen then arrived and jumped into the water and a couple of men were dangled over the sea wall.

The policemen managed to get hold of the girl and pass her to the other men.

Mrs Murdie said: "A woman appeared while the emergency services were trying to resuscitate the girl and the woman let out an almighty scream.

"Then a man and another woman appeared and they were in a terrible state so I think they were the girl's parents."

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