Praise for students & volunteers after castle rocks rescue

Helicopter rescue, St Andrews (Pic courtesy of local resident)
Helicopter rescue, St Andrews (Pic courtesy of local resident)

Coastguards have praised a University of St Andrews student who ran to the aid of a girl who fell from rocks at St Andrews Castle.

Lucy Reis (20), who was heading to graduation ball when the alarm was raised, threw off her shoes and dashed across the rocks in her ball gown to go to the rescue of the stricken youngster.

Lucy Reis, student, University of St Andrews

Lucy Reis, student, University of St Andrews

Voluntary coastguards who attended the incident, all of whom are members of staff of the university, commended Lucy’s quick thinking.

The drama unfolded as students made their way to the ball last Saturday.

Lucy, a third year undergraduate Art History and Psychology student, said: “We were on Castle Sands and there were some other people on the beach. There was a lot of commotion and people getting upset. They said there had been an accident and someone had been hurt.

“I took my shoes off and clambered over the rocks. There was a girl lying on the rocks round the corner near a pool of water. She appeared to be unconscious.

David Stutchfield, Sustainability Manager, Estates, Dr Cameron Rae, Technical Manager at the Photonics Innovation Centre and Duncan Brannen, IT Systems Team Leader at Castle sands.   (Pic Alan Richardson)

David Stutchfield, Sustainability Manager, Estates, Dr Cameron Rae, Technical Manager at the Photonics Innovation Centre and Duncan Brannen, IT Systems Team Leader at Castle sands. (Pic Alan Richardson)

“I don’t know first aid but we thought she should be kept still. She was not responding and I checked her head for injuries.

“We were trying to get her to respond which she did after a while.

Another St Andrews student, Andrew Robbins, who helped Lucy comfort the injured girl paid tribute to his fellow student.

Andrew, who graduated last week, said: “I’m very glad that we were able to help. Lucy really is owed more of the credit. She first suggested that we not move her, she stayed with her, and sacrificed time at bBall, and she was extremely calm, helpful and compassionate through everything.”

The St Andrews Coastguard rescue team and a helicopter were alerted. Three of the team who came to the rescue are full-time members of university staff – Dr Cameron Rae, Technical Manager at the Photonics Innovation Centre, Duncan Brannen, IT Systems Team Leader, and David Stutchfield, Sustainability Manager, Estates.

Joe Mitchell, senior coastal operations Officer, HM Coastguard, praised Lucy and Andrew for their heroic actions.

“They provided vital care in initially ensuring the casualty’s breathing was not compromised by the water,” he said.

“HM Coastguard are grateful for the time and effort provided by its volunteer rescue teams located around the country who provide this essential rescue capability.

“Importantly HM Coastguard also recognise the support given by the team members’ employers, the University of St Andrews, who allow them, when possible and at the sound of the pagers going off, to leave their jobs at a moment’s notice.’’