Teenage girls ‘deserve medals’ for rescuing man and child with beach lilo

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Two teenage girls have been praised by emergency services after using a lilo to rescue a man and child in water off the north east coast of Scotland.

Sisters Isla and Eilidh Noble were on the beach at the Waters of Philorth, near Fraserburgh, on Monday afternoon when it became clear the pair in the water had got into difficulty.

The Fraserburgh Academy pupils were assisted by another man, Keith Gray, who helped 15-year-old Isla bring the lilo back to land where 14-year-old Eilidh was calling 999.

Speaking on BBC’s Good Morning Scotland radio programme, Isla said their parents were proud the sisters managed to make quick decisions and get the pair out of the water in time without panicking.

The beach at the Waters of Philorth near Fraserburgh (RNLI Fraserburgh Lifeboat/PA)

She said: “We were just out paddling with our lilo and we saw a man and toddler out, and they were deeper than us.

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“We thought the toddler started screaming but we thought the dad was just dunking him under as a laugh and he was getting cold – but then the dad starting shouting ‘help’.”

“I went out with the lilo to go try take him back in while Eilidh went and got the phone that we had in the bag that we had on the beach.

“We couldn’t stand because we (were) out too deep so I tried to put the toddler on the lilo and then as I pulled the toddler up the dad came up a wee bit as well, so I made sure that his head was out the water.

“Then I tried to swim back in but I could only use one arm because I was holding onto the lilo with the other one. I tried to kick my legs… I was going but I wasn’t going very fast.

“Luckily there was another man, Keith, he had seen what was happening and he was already halfway in the water by this point – so he came and swam out and grabbed the other side of the lilo and we both managed to take them in.”

Emergency services
Emergency services arrived on the scene quickly (RNLI Fraserburgh Lifeboat/PA)

A nurse, Sophie Ross, had also been walking on the beach when she heard cries for help.

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.”

Isla also said it has been reported the man, who had become unconscious on the beach, was kept in hospital overnight as a precaution.

A post on the RNLI Fraserburgh Lifeboat Facebook page has praised the actions of the girls for starting a rescue effort straight away.

It said: “Emergency services arrived quickly and after several minutes the man regained consciousness enough, although still very weak and strapped into his stretcher, to lift his oxygen mask slightly and thank his rescuers before being airlifted to hospital.

“Once again the dangers of swimming in our seas have been highlighted and we advise everyone to be very careful when having fun at the coast.

“Isla and Elidh 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.”

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