NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland

Airbed rescue: Schoolgirls praised for saving man and child

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Media caption'He was going under so I went out with the lilo'

Two teenage sisters have been praised for rescuing a man and a toddler who were in danger of drowning off the Aberdeenshire coast.

Isla Noble, 15 and her sister Eilidh, 14, heard cries for help while swimming near Fraserburgh on Monday afternoon.

Realising the man, who had his son on his shoulders, was in trouble, Isla swam out with a lilo airbed and helped them to shore.

The man passed out but the girls phoned 999 to alert the Coastguard.

Image copyright RNLI Fraserburgh
Image caption The teenagers used a lilo-type airbed to ferry the man and child to shore

The drama unfolded while the Fraserburgh Academy pupils were enjoying some time in the water after school at the Waters of Philorth nature reserve.

The man was exhausted and out of his depth, but Isla was able to put the child on the airbed and help him lie across the inflatable, while her sister went back to fetch her phone.

Image copyright Fraserburgh RNLI
Image caption Isla and Eilidh were helped by Keith Gray

Isla told the BBC's Good Morning Scotland programme: "The toddler started screaming - we thought the dad was just dunking him under as a laugh and he was getting cold, but then the dad started shouting help.

"I went out with the lilo to try to take him back in while Eilidh went to get the phone from the beach."

Another rescuer, Keith Gray, who was picnicking with his family, joined her to help push the airbed back to shore.

"Keith came out and grabbed the other side of the lilo and we both managed to take them in," Isla said.

Image copyright Fraserburgh RNLI
Image caption The man was able to thank his rescuers before he was airlifted to hospital

By then, the man had passed out, but nurse Sophie Ross, who was strolling on the beach, put him in the recovery position.

She said: "The young lass had pulled the fellow out of the water and he was on the lilo.

"We put him in the recovery position and got him to cough up some sea water, checked his pulse and breathing and kept the coastguard up to date with his condition until they arrived."

Image copyright Fraserburgh RNLI
Image caption Various emergency services were also called in to help

After the emergency services arrived the man regained consciousness and was able to lift his oxygen mask briefly to thank his rescuers before being airlifted by Coastguard helicopter to Aberdeen Royal Infirmary.

His condition was not believed to be life-threatening, and the child was said to be uninjured.

Fraserburgh Academy rector Irene Sharp said on Twitter: "Well done to two of our heroic pupils Isla and Eilidh Noble in their fast thinking and quick actions last night.

"All of us at Fraserburgh Academy are immensely proud of you both."

Fraserburgh RNLI praised all those involved in the rescue and said their actions had almost certainly averted a tragedy.

It posted on its Facebook page: "Isla and Eilidh and Keith did brilliant.

"The girls, for being so young and springing into action and having the presence of mind to phone the coastguard and calmly give them the details of the incident, enabled the emergency services including ourselves to respond and arrive so quickly.

"Make no mistake their presence and actions today made all the difference. They all deserve medals."