Bravery of selfless rescuers to be recognised with police awards

David & Gail Murdie.
David & Gail Murdie.

ON Monday, June 4, David Murdie was enjoying a day out in Eyemouth with his wife when things took a dramatic turn and he found himself caught up in the rescue to pull 14-year-old Katie MacLean from the sea after a strong wave dragged her into the water.

Katie is still said to be in ‘a critical but stable’ condition in Edinburgh Royal Infirmary as more and more people will her to make a full recovery, and David, who was part of a human chain who battled to reach her, is in line to receive recognition for his bravery by way of a meritorious award from Lothian and Borders Police along with others who desperately tried to save her.

Katie was swept into the sea as she attempted to save her 13- year -old friend Tempany Sylvester after a strong wave knocked off a harbour wall.

Tempany was pulled to safety by members of the public and after being alerted to the events by frantic bystanders and seeing Katie struggling against the current and being slammed against rocks by some relentless waves, David from Bonnyrigg and a group of others launched their own rescue mission.

Recalling what happened just over a fortnight ago, David said: “I rushed over to the wall and saw Katie in the water. There were already a couple of guys there so we tried to make a human chain. One of them jumped in with a strap around him but he couldn’t reach her.

“Another guy threw a strap to her but she was struggling to fight against the waves.

“The waves were crashing in, hitting the wall and bouncing off. It was dangerous and deeply upsetting.”

Katie, from Eyemouth, Berwickshire, was eventually pulled out of the water when two police officers dived in and managed to hold her up to David and the other rescuers.

But he and his wife, Gail, 41, were angry that there were no flotation rings at the sea front. Mrs Murdie said: “People were shouting for rings. It seemed like ages before someone appeared with one.

“If a ring had been thrown when she still had the strength to swim the outcome would have been much more positive.”

The Coastguard has so far declined to comment.

A spokesperson for Lothian and Borders Police confirmed that Mr Murdie would now be considered for a meritorious award along with others.

They told ‘The Berwickshire News’: “Lothian and Borders Police acknowledge the bravery of all involved and a meritorious report is being submitted in respect of a number of members of the public and police officers.”

A Facebook page, named ‘Get Well Soon Katie Lou’, has been set up as friends and family keep everything crossed that Katie’s condition continues to improve; it has so far attracted 746 likes.

The teenager has now been in a coma since the incident and the messages on the social networking site reflect the level of concern people, some of whom have admitted they don’t even know her, have for Katie.

Posts like ‘keep fighting Katie’ and ‘stay strong’ appeared over the weekend and on Tuesday one Facebook user asked ‘any news?’ while another posted ‘still thinking about you and your family Katie Lou! Come on beautiful’.

Katie’s friends have also taken to Twitter urging Harry Styles and Niall Horan from her favourite group One Direction to tweet their support for her.

David added: “I have seen what the girl went through and she’s obviously getting the best treatment possible but to see that she’s still fighting and trying to make a recovery is great.”

“I would hate to put myself in her parents’ position.

“They came down half-way through the rescue and to see it couldn’t have been a nice thing at all.”