SAR paramedic Mark Scotland of the HM Coastguard, UK, has received a prestigious Royal Humane Society award for his bravery in rescuing a 12-year-old girl during a routine training exercise on 28 July 2020.
During this exercise, the SAR helicopter was redirected to Kent where three people were reported in distress in the sea. Upon seeing the girl struggling to keep her head above water, Scotland was lowered to the sea.
The girl had sunk below the waves, and Scotland fully immersed himself in the water, allowing him to lift her upper body clear of the water, where she was able to breathe. Scotland subsequently administered first aid to her as she was flown to Ashford Hospital for treatment.
Acknowledging danger to themselves in service of others
The Royal Humane Society’s Testimonial on Parchment for bravery recognizes someone who has put themselves in danger to save someone else.
In a statement, Scotland said: “I’m honored to received the Royal Humane Society Testimonial on Parchment. This particular rescue presented a number of challenges, with the young girl very panicked and struggling to keep afloat in the water. I knew it was essential to get her out of danger as soon as possible and I’m so pleased we were able to safely winch her to the aircraft for further treatment, and that she ultimately made a full recovery.”
Captain Neil Robertson, HM Coastguard Chief Pilot, added: “It was a perilous situation, and Mark’s courageous and selfless act, above and beyond what is expected of a SAR winch paramedic, undoubtedly saved her life.
“His composure throughout the rescue, during which he was submerged for up to 10 seconds, is testament to the lengths our crew will go to, to rescue those in danger at sea or inland.”
Scotland is not alone in his efforts being acknowledged of late, with Leigh Curtis, Executive Director of the UK’s Air Ambulance Kent Surrey Sussex, recently recognized in the Queen’s Birthday Honors 2021.